After a week when I was asked “Would you take the knee?” – I said “No, I’d never get up again!” – Real Mallorca look set to lose their 16 year-old wonder-kid Luka Romero.
Negotiations which have lasted months have reached a point of no return as Luka (or more correctly his parents and agents) look towards other horizons – the law of supply and demand!
It’s been reported that despite a succulent signing offer from Real Mallorca several clubs have knocked on his front door and one especially (rumors to be Real Madrid) have made him a dizzying offer which we just can’t match. Both parties (player and club) have been playing their cards close to their respective chests with regard to his future and a decision which will see him leave Mallorca this Summer will be made public shortly.
The “star” of the They are Bibiloni youth set-up (more on that further on) didn’t sign a professional contract after turning 16 in November and from that moment on any kind of agreement has been impossible.
The son of nomadic Argentine footballer Diego Romero, Luka was born in the Mexican city of Durango where his father played.
The family moved to Formentera when Luka was two years old and a few years later he joined the San Jordi Academy in Ibiza.
When Romero senior wound down his career, Luka was snapped up by Mallorca in 2015, aged 10.
He holds three nationalities, Mexican, Argentinian (whom he represented up to Under 17 category at youth level) and Spanish.
In June 2020 he became the youngest ever player to play in La Liga when he came off the bench for Mallorca in their 0-2 loss to Real Madrid.
With his diminutive size and playing style he was immediately compared to Messi.
His goal scoring record at youth level in Mallorca was outstanding, 230 in 108 games.
Our then assistant coach Dani Pendin said “We were aware of his talents but were reluctant to give him a start because of his size, believing he wasn’t built for the rigors of the men’s game.”
In Luka’s case the parallels between him and a teenage Messi are scary.
Dodgy mullet, left footed, close control and he made his first team debut on Messi’s 33rd birthday.
The last jewel in the crown of the Son Bibiloni academy is about to make his exit permanent and Majorcan wish Luka the best of luck for the future – it’s such a shame that won’t be played out in the red shirt of Real Mallorca.
A football academy is set up to develop young players. Most clubs have them to produce the next generation of first team players, or to make money for the club from potential transfers.
Over the past two seasons, Mallorca’s B team have lost their final play-off games which meant the team are stuck in what was called the fifth tier of Spanish football, a very low level for a professional club such as Mallorca, especially if any of its players aspire to make the step up from the B team to the Big Boys league.
This past season has been an unmitigated disaster for the majority of our youth teams.
Indeed the juveniles had their worst campaign for years.
The B team, our main supplier of talent (with the exception of the soon-to-be-gone Romero) have once again come up short when it matters most.
The club owners spent a lot of money on the state of the art complex, Son Bibiloni, and director of football Pedro Ortells was brought in from Villareal on the pretext that he was a specialist in producing good youngsters from the academy.
Now we have several youngsters who are left to wander through the re-vamped third division with absolutely no chance of ever breaking into the first team, especially in La Liga.
It’s 2017/18 since Joan Sastre and Miquel Perera (now at Racing Santander) broke through from the youth ranks into the Mallorca first team squad.
Other players like Pablo Ramon and Marvin Park left for Real Madrid and Mateu Morey moved to Borussia Dortmund.
The difference in standard between the top four / five leagues in Spain is huge and the gap now has got even bigger.
A team that is in La Liga should be able to have its B team compete at the best level.
For example, Real Sociedad B, coached by Spanish football legend Xavi Alonso, have just been promoted to The second and their third team is in 2nd RFEF (the old Third division).
Ortells has a massive task this Summer, with both the senior and youth teams, improvement with the kids is vital.
AND FINALLY, a golden oldie request.
A Chinese guy walks into a Hollywood bar late one night and sees Steven Spielberg sitting in the corner.
As Mr Wong is a great fan of all his movies, he rushes over and asks for a selfie.
Spielberg refuses saying “You Chinese people bombed our Pearl Harbor, now go away and leave me alone.”
The astonished Chinaman replies “It was not Chinese people who bombed Pearl Harbor, they were Japanese. “
Spielberg, getting angrier by the minute replies “Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, you’re all the same.”
Mr Wong was getting even more angry now “You sink Titanic, my forefathers al perish when boat go down.”
Shocked, Spielberg loses it completely “It was an iceberg that sank the Titanic, not me.”
Wong replies “Iceberg, Spielberg, Kronenberg, Carlsberg – you’re all the same !!”