During a week when a Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says “Five beers please!” – Real Mallorca reach game 16 of this season’s La Liga SmartBank top of the table, two points clear of second-placed Espanyol and three ahead of tomorrow night’s opponents Almeria who are a game behind us due to Covid-19 issues earlier in the season. Tomorrow night’s kick off at the Estadio Juegos Mediterraneos is 7 o’clock.
The Andalucians are now owned by 37-year-old Saudi Arabian Turki Al-Sheikh who has big plans for the club. He recently returned to work after heart surgery and is bankrolling Almeria’s race to promotion. The last time they were in La Liga was 2015. “Sheikh rattle and roll” has hopes of turning Almeria into the Manchester City of Spain. Almeria, however, will be missing one of their star strikers, Juan Vilar, who tested positive for Coronavirus after Almeria’s 1-2 at Oviedo on Monday night and has gone into quarantine.
Real Mallorca are on the crest of a wave at the moment, 14 games unbeaten and only three goals conceded in 15 games. They’ll have their work cut out for tomorrow night against a team bang on form.
The second division title race looks set to be another nail-biter as we head towards the Christmas break on December 20, with potentially five teams in the promotion mix. Once again the starting XI Luis Garcia Plaza (who celebrated his 48th birthday on Tuesday) selects is anybody’s guess as this is, without doubt, Real Mallorca’s trickiest game so far.
All the talk this week has been about the professional baptism for 16-year-old Luka Romero after he scored a “worldy” in our 4-0 gubbing of Logroñes on Sunday. The teenager and his parents were scheduled to meet representatives from Real Mallorca during the week but both CEO Alfonso Diaz and football director Pablo Ortells are confined to their respective homes after having been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19. It’s hoped Luka will stay at Mallorca for the foreseeable future as he has more chances of playing first team football than if he languished in one of the lower youth teams in a bigger club. Luka could however leave if one of the so-called bigger clubs presented a succulent offer irreplaceable economically.
Luis Garcia Plaza has shown Luka a lot of affection as have the players but it’s been made clear he must be pampered without rushing. Working daily with the likes of Salva Sevilla and Dani Rodriguez is very positive for Luka’s development. His mum and dad are more than happy with the way their son is progressing at Real Mallorca since he arrived and that in itself is another reason he could stay here, let’s hope he does.
PS An ex Real Mallorca player has finished up playing in Australia. Israeli striker, 33-year-old Tomer Hemed, who spent three years here between 2011/14, making 90 appearances, scoring 21 goals, has signed for Sydney side Wellington Phoenix. Tomer falls into the “Have boots will travel” category having played for 10 different clubs including Brighton, QPR and Charlton Athletic.