Real Mallorca getting ready for the new season in La Liga

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After a week when I read “To improve my pulling power on holiday in Mallorca, it was suggested to me to shove a pair of rolled up socks down my speedos – it did not work until I was told they should be shoved down the front! ” – season tickets for 2022/23 will go on sale from Monday (June 27).

Best to consult club website for more details. The calendario (fixture list) was made in Madrid on Thursday and Real Mallorca opened their account away in the Son Mames against Bilbao on August 14. Our first home game is a toughie against Manuel Pelligrini’s Betis. The first of our games against the Big Two sees us away at Real Madrid on October 11 and we face Barcelona in Palma on November 2.

It’s going to be a defining week in our quest to get Vedat Muriqi through the Son Moix doors on a permanent deal. Our priority is to bring the 28-year-old Kosovan to these island shores by any means legally possible. The Kosovan international had a tough first half of the season at Lazio, contributing to only one goal in 11 Serie A appearances. In January he arrived on loan at Real Mallorca and found success scoring five goals and providing three assists.

Lazio’s English-language website “The Laziali” reported on Wednesday that Turkish giants Galatasaray are incredibly keen to sign the surplus-to-requirements Lazio forward this Summer and talks are ongoing, with Real Mallorca set to miss out despite his impressive time on loan.

Mallorca’s offer for Muriqi hasn’t come anywhere close to the 12 million buy-out option agreed in January, nor the 10 million euros that Lazio would consider accepting. Galatasaray have much more financial clout than Mallorca and expect a deal to go through in the next few weeks.

As far as things this end are concerned, sources at the Son Moix said they will continue to monitor Muriqi’s position despite the BIG economic differences that make it impossible for the operation to materialize for now.

One player who won’t be part of the set-up next season is Japanese player Take Kubo. He failed to impress last campaign and his one goal and one assist, plus being paid a two million euro salary per season, simply was not good enough.

Time is running out for Kubo, even at the tender age of 21 he must get his fledgling career back on track. Kubo is a bit like Neymar and doesn’t look to be a team player and tries to beat everybody on his own. With that in mind, his parent club Real Madrid want him to go to a team in La Liga who will be in a European competition next year. So it looks like he’s off to Real Sociedad and I’ve no doubt we’ll see him in the Son Moix next season.

Like all major European leagues now, the top three or four teams are becoming predictable. In Spain the top three will more than likely be Real Madrid, Barcelona and At. Madrid. I do not expect any surprises in the teams who’ll fight it out for a European place: Valencia, Villareal, Real Sociedad, At. Bilbao (who depending on today [Friday’s] presidential election could have Marcelo Bielsa or Valverde back again as manager), Sevilla and Real Betis.

There have been many names mentioned with regard to being signed whether on loan or on a permanent deal but one name did catch my eye. He’s a 35-year-old Argentinian goalkeeper called Matias Dituro. This 6ft 2in. goalkeeper played every game for Celta Vigo last season, kept 14 clean sheets and saved four of the five penalties he faced. If he signed he’d follow Carlos Roa, German Lux, Leo Franco and “Mono” Burgos as Argentinian goalkeepers who played for Real Mallorca.

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The club have officially confirmed their pre-season plans. On Monday July 4, the players will have their medical tests before starting pre-season in Son Bibiloni from July 5 to 12.

On the 13th the players and staff leave for cooler weather training in the Austrian Alps in a place called Fulpmes where they’ll play three friendslies against Polish fourth division side Wieczysta Krakow, then the Qatari national side and finish off against Italian Serie A outfit Genoa, before returning to Palma on July 23. On the 27th they’ll play La Segunda side Sporting Gijon in Son Bibiloni.

Real Mallorca, after 12 years of monetary struggles, received some long-awaited financial good news on Monday when the “Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry” announced that bankruptcy proceedings have ended. The arrival of our American owners in 2016 led by Robert Sarver has been key to seeing the 65 million euro debt lowered little by little to the point of being non existent. With this news, RCD Mallorca close one of the most delicate episodes in the club’s 106 year existence.

The nightmare of financial meltdown began in the Summer of 2010 when the club was under local ownership and we almost went out of business. In-fighting at boardroom level was rife and there looked to be no end in sight to our financial woes.

In 2014 a charismatic German investor, Utz Claassen (who had worked in senior management with blue-chip companies such as Volkswagen) became the majority shareholder and implemented a different strategy. From December 2014 to June 2016 he took over as president of the club. Despite all his good intentions (he had the Luis Sitjar stand built for the Ultras), there were no significant changes in our on-the-field form and we drifted down and out of the second division and into the dreaded Segunda B.

When the Americans took over, many Mallorquinistas doubted they would stay the distance after our relegation. The owners have always said they were here for the long haul and they’ve kept their word – and some. They’ve even invested big time in remodeling the Son Moix. There’s no question they’ve put their money where their mouths are and are totally committed to the cause.

I felt sorry for Utz Claassen because he did not get the credit he deserved. He saved Real Mallorca from disappearing off the face of the footballing planet. He and his wife invested a lot of money in the club when nobody from around these parts was remotely interested or even cared.

Claassen was a smooth operator and found an interested American investment group led by Robert Sarver. It was the first time then that there had been an investor from the NBA (basketball franchise Phoenix Suns) in charge of a professional football club in Europe. Unbelievably there are still some local fans who are very sensitive about “giris” running their football club !!

AND FINALLY, the Galician city of Vigo is to introduce fines for people (men !!) who pee into the sea. I remember well back in the day when a friend of mine was thrown out of his local swimming baths for taking a “Jimmy Riddle” in the deep end. He complained saying “I’ve done nothing wrong, everybody does it.” He was told in no uncertain terms “That’s as maybe, but you’re the only one to do it standing on the 10 meter high diving board!”

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