After a week when Lord John Kilclooney was amazed on Twitter that the Italian football team were seen singing their national anthem with gusto whereas every member of the Spanish team remained silent – what his numpty Lordship didn’t know was that the Spanish national anthem, Marcha Real, doesn’t have any words! – Real Mallorca’s beach and pool time is over and, after more than a month since we won promotion, the players are back in training.
It was hoped that after medical checks on Monday and Tuesday that the squad would have had a clean bill of health.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as three players (names not released) provided positive tests and have been put into self-isolation.
With the start over a month away, it’s thought the positive tests won’t interfere with pre-season plans.
The squad is already four players light with Junior and Baba Lake on international duty in Africa and not due back until next Wednesday.
Two others, Valjent and Traijkovski, have been competing in the Euros and are on extended leave until the 18th.
Director of football, Pablo Ortells, has been busy bringing in five new signings, four of them with plenty of La Liga experience – 509 league appearances between them.
Right back Pablo Maffeo has arrived on loan from Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart.
The 23-year-old Catalan started at Espanyol’s youth academy and at 16 moved to Manchester City.
At 18 he moved to Girona when they won promotion in 2017.
Playing in 33 games in La Liga he caught the eye of Stuttgart scouts and left Spain for Germany.
In his time there he didn’t pull up any trees so went back on loan to Girona who were then in La Segunda. Last season I played in La Liga for Huesca.
Another experienced defender came on Thursday, 33-year-old Jaume Costa who’s played 10 years at Villareal, with over 250 appearances, receiving 72 yellow and 7 red cards.
He’ll have to fight to get a starting place as both Cufre and Olivan are competing for the left back spot.
As his disciplinary record shows, Costa is a fiery character and was a big favorite with Villareal fans.
There’s a video on You Tube of him shouting at fans who were leaving La Ceramica before the end of a game (also one of my pet hates). He can be heard yelling at them “Can’t you wait another five minutes till it’s over ?!”
Two forwards, Amath and Angel Rodriguez, signed on the dotted line last week.
The fifth new face is back-up goalkeeper Dominik Greif, a 24-year-old, 6ft 2in international who has signed from Slovakian team Slovan bratislava on a five-year deal. Dominik’s arrival sees the tradition for foreign goalkeepers continuing at Real Mallorca.
The German Timo Wellenreuther was the last one between 2015/16.
He took over from the legendary Israeli Dudu Aouate who retired in 2014 after many years of magnificent service to the cause.
In 1997 Carlos Roa became another of our fabled ‘keepers.
The Argentinian (now a priest) played in the 1998 Copa del Rey final and the 1999 European Cup Winners Cup final (the last one ever) when we lost 2-1 to Lazio.
Two years later another Argentinian, the eccentric German “Mono” Burgos, took over and in turn he was replaced by fellow countryman Leo Franco who was in the 2003 cup winning team.
Other foreign “goalkeepers” include ex Liverpool player Sandor Westerveld. The Dutchman (now a coach in South Africa) was here in 2004/05. When I started watching Real Mallorca in the mid ’80s we had a Moroccan goalkeeper, Zaki Badou, who became a legend at the old Luis Sitjar, spending six years on the island.
Real Mallorca’s pre-season seven-game itinerary has been released. It starts on the island on July 18 when we play in the agricultural cup against Poblense in Sa Pobla.
On July 21 we’ll face Cartagena in our Benidorm training camp. The same venue three days later sees us against UD Ibiza who are now in La Segunda.
On the 27th, Turkish giants Besiktas will be our next opponents again in Benidorm.
Then on August 1 we fly to France to play Ligue 1 side Brest, followed by Huesca in Aragon on August 4.
Our pre-season finale is the City of Palma Cup.
This year it’s the Italian Serie A side Cagliari who’ll play in the Son Moix on August 7 at 8 pm.
Then it’s down to the real business when we kick off our La Liga campaign against Real Betis on Saturday 14th at 19:30.
Japanese wonder kid Take kubo again won’t be able to play for his parent club Real Madrid next season as they already have their quota of three non-EU players.
Mallorca would dearly like to have him back on loan, but won’t be able to afford his three million euro signing fee or indeed his wage demands of two million euros. Whatever happens, Real Madrid must offload him so may take a reduced package from a club for his services.
Mallorca will just have to wait and see what happens.
AND FINALLY, I was walking in the jungle and saw a lizard on his hind legs telling jokes.
I turned to a local tribesman and said “That lizard’s really funny!”
The tribesman replied “That’s not a lizard, he’s a stand-up chameleon. “