Mallorca's Canadian striker Cyle Larin. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


After a week when most of the island’s resort businesses pulled down the shutters after a very busy Summer – I ask myself where do those “doctor fish” (Garra-Ruffa), that give feet a pedicure by nibbling away the scaly bits, go in winter? – Real Mallorca had about the worst possible news when their talisman Kosovan striker Vedat Muriqi was injured playing for his country in a rearranged European Championship qualifier against Israel in Pristina on Sunday. In the 66th minute in a game played on a pitch that resembled a badly ploughed field after days of torrential rain, Muriqi went down in a heap after what looked to be an innocuous tackle and stayed down.

After lengthy treatment he hobbled off with what looked like a left leg calf muscle problem. We now know (according to the Kosovo medics) the muscle is partly ruptured, which means Muriqi will be out for a “minimum” of six weeks.

When an international call-up comes in the middle of an important league season, when points are vital, coaches are on tenterhooks worrying whether their best players come through the games without injury.

Mallorca took a gamble in asking for the Cadiz game to be postponed as they felt they couldn’t perform to the best of their abilities without their star player. I don’t suppose they even thought that Muriqi might get injured. Now their gamble hasn’t paid off as they’re left without their star player for a long period of time.

We have to hope that Cyle Larin doesn’t get injured on international duty because if he does then that leaves Abdon Prats as the ONLY striker available. The paltry crowd in Pristina were quieter than Russell Brand’s 2024 diary and lined up in the 4-6-0 formation, four fans in the main stand, six in the east stand and none behind the goals !

Muriqi will decide with the national team coaches and Real Mallorca’s sports management when he comes back to Palma for treatment. It appears he wants to be with his teammates in Switzerland tomorrow (Saturday 18th) for a game and on Tuesday in Pristina against Belarus in the last two games in the qualifying group.

The question now being asked is why hasn’t a member of our medical staff flown out to Kosovo to check on Muriqi’s condition first hand? Muriqi misses a vital few weeks for us before the Christmas break – Atletico Madrid (unbeaten at home in 17 games) Saturday 25th at 9pm, then Cadiz, Alaves and Sevilla all in Palma.

It’s now down to Mallorca’s other front men, Abdon Prats and Cyle Larin, to step up and be counted. Prats is our leading scorer with sevel goals in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. He’ll chase a piece of paper all day long for the cause and is a huge favourite with the fans.

But the main protagonist now is Canadian striker Cyle Larin, one of the most controversial signings of the season. He must now assume the burden of replacing Muriqi. Larin is at present away on international duty with Canada where he’ll play two CONCACAF matches against Jamaica early tomorrow morning (Saturday 1 a.m. our time and Wednesday 22nd at 1:30 a.m.).

Larin (who is a bit of a serial moaner when it comes to refereeing decisions not going his way) will now get the chance he’s been asking for to play up front as our main striker, the position he played at Valladolid where he netted eight goals in 10 games at the end of last season. He’s failed to shine here so far and must show everybody that the 7.5 million euros transfer fee we paid for him was worth it.

Fortunately the postponement of the Cadiz game (which didn’t go down well with lots of Mallorquinistas) has not meant anything new in terms of league position. The three below us in the table, Celta, Granada and Almeria, are still in a state of panic!

The best story of the week saw our right wing back Pablo Maffeo fulfilling his dream in being selected for World Cup winners Argentina for two games against Uruguay today (Friday 17th) and Brazil on the 22nd. It won’t be easy for Maffeo to get many playing minutes for Argentina so he should come back with a clean bill of health.

He’s been outstanding for Mallorca in the three years he’s been here and deserves international recognition. Born in Catalunya to an Argentinian mother and an Italian father, he could have played for any of three countries. He’s already turned out for the Spanish Under 21 team but his dream was to play alongside Messi. The Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni (an ex Mallorca player) lives in Son Caliu and has watched closely Maffeo’s progress many times in Son Moix.

PS Mallorca have drawn some team from outside Pamplona called CD Valle de Egüés in the second round of the Copa del Rey. Andratx have got a money-spinning tie, they’ll face Real Sociedad (Take Kubo), all games played on December 5/6/7th.

AND FINALLY, a man and woman meet at a bar and get on so well they decide to go back to her house where they engage in passionate hanky panky. Suddenly the woman sits bolt upright saying “Oh no, I think my husband’s just come home early. Quick, hide in the wardrobe.” So the man squeezes into the wardrobe. Her husband comes into the bedroom and looks at her “Why are you naked ?” “Well,” she answers, “when I heard you pull up outside, I thought I’d come up here and get ready for you.” “Okay,” says her husband “I’ll just hang my suit up in the wardrobe.” He opens the door and sees a naked man standing inside clapping his hands. “Who the hell are you ?” the husband asks. “I’m from Rentokill. Your wife called me to get rid of a plague of moths you have having problems with.” “But you’re stark naked” observes the husband. The man looks down and jumps back in surprise, “Those little b***ards !!”