In a week when, after Mauricio Pochettino failed to win the league title with PSG in France, Tottenham Hotspur now want him to return to England and fail to win the league with them ! – Real Mallorca, after 41 league games over an eight-month period, play their last fixture in a historical season in the Castile/Leon region of Spain against eighth-placed S.D. Ponferradina at their El Toralin ground tomorrow at 21:00.
Going into this game, Mallorca lie second on 81 points (a club record) and won promotion back to La Liga Santander at the first time of asking with three games to spare (another piece of history). Espanyol kick off at the same time and are a point ahead of us, and if they don’t beat Alcorcon away, and we get a result, Mallorca will snatch the La Liga SmartBank title. If we both finish level on points, Espanyol would be champions with a better goal average/head to head count.
Mallorca fans can expect a raft of changes as our players prepare to go on holiday after the match. Martin Valjent and Aleksandar Trajkovski will be joining Slovakia and North Macedonia respectively in their build-up to the Euros next month. Lago Junior and Baba have been called up by Ivory Coast and Ghana for games and Salva Sevilla is suspended. Tonight coach Luis Garcia Plaza (whose father sadly passed away last week) said that he’ll pick fringe players who’ve played the least amount of time this season. That could mean a first and last game for third choice ’keeper Koke Vegas who arrived in January from Levante on loan.
LGP reiterated that winning the championship would be a bonus in what has been an exceptional campaign. However, gaining promotion was the major achievement and is the dream goal with all the benefits that “going up” entails, with its sporting, social and economic levels. After the game, players and staff will take a well-earned Summer break and won’t return for pre-season until July 5.
The La Liga season is scheduled to start over the weekend of August 14-15 (guaranteed late evening kick offs!). Incredibly people on social media are enquiring about fixtures, season tickets and even match tickets. That’s all before this campaign’s even finished. The calendario (fixture list) won’t be out until late July and as for tickets – watch this space in a couple of months!
Our director of football, Pablo Ortell, is now working out a plan to keep us in La Liga for as long as possible and his priorities are back-up goalkeeper, a right back, right winger and a proven goalscoring striker. The Mallorquinista’s jury is still out on the Ante Budimir situation.
He’s opened a Pandora’s box by saying in an interview that his intentions were to stay at Osasuna where he “feels loved.” Mallorca have to look to the future and there’s plenty of social media comments as to whether only a few of our present players will be able to compete with the aristocracy of the Spanish top league.
Budimir would be an ideal returnee to face our new La Liga journey but the reality is our fans would probably NOT be well pleased if he came back. Everything he did to force his way out of the Son Moix stank of high treason. On the Sporting side we need somebody like Budimir, who’s scored 25 goals in two seasons.
But what he did last Summer will never be forgotten by fans. His going on strike was gross disrespect after we showed him the way back into top flight football. Any amnesty from Mallorca fans is complicated and his move to Osasuna looks likely to be approved after the Euros.
Villareal winning the Europa League on Wednesday night kept up the record of Spanish clubs against English sides in recent finals – nine straight Spanish wins (the last one for an English team was Liverpool against Alaves in 2001). I tuned into the BT Sports coverage of the game and in the studio before kick-off the three talking heads were all ex “Manyoo” players, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves.
Their ridiculous bias towards their old team was embarrassing so I changed over to BeIN Sports. After the game finally finished, most of the United squad removed their runners up medals from around their necks immediately on receiving them. The only exceptions were the Latin players and the whole scenario lacked grace and class.
A lot of these over-rated players don’t know how to lose gracefully and expect to win every game. I felt sorry for United’s Spanish ’keeper David de Gea. He grabbed all the wrong headlines for his penalty miss. The defeat lay with the 10 outfield players who on the night were simply not good enough.
PS Big rumour –
At. Madrid and Liverpool legend, 37-year-old Fernando Torres has announced that he’s coming out of retirement to play again. One club being mentioned as a possible destination is U.D. Ibiza who have been promoted to La Liga SmartBank next season! Now that signing would seriously increase the sale of season tickets.
A friend of mind told me the other day that his wife’s hearing’s getting worse. “She went to the doctor’s this morning and he told her she had acute angina. She said ‘Yes, I know and my boobs aren’t bad either for my age!’”