The Mallorquinista: Real Mallorca Back on Form
BACK ON FORM
Real Mallorca continued their impressive home form on Sunday 3rd February with a hard earned two-nil win against Alcorcon in the Son Moix Stadium. After only two minutes Estupinan, on loan from Watford, played a perfect pass into the area for the recalled Aridai to slot home the opener. After 20 minutes Lago Junior went on a jinking run into the area and was brought down. New signing Andre Budimir grabbed the ball away from Lago and confidently chipped the spot kick into the net. This was a huge display of confidence - he would have been pilloried if the audacious effort hadn’t been successful. More was to follow from Budimir – he was booked for a foul in the first half and was sent off after 69 minutes for a second bookable offence. He certainly endeared himself to the fans and more is expected of him – after he has served a one match suspension! Goalkeeper Manolo Reina was back to his best in the last 20 minutes with a couple of great saves to prevent Alcorcon getting back into the game.
The previous week Mallorca came away from Cadiz with a point after a one all draw. Stoichkov put the islanders ahead early on with a classy finish. The home side, despite being reduced to ten men in the first half, fought back to equalise in a feisty encounter.
Mallorca were very busy in the winter transfer market at the end of January. In addition to the Croatian Budimir joining from Italian side Crotone, Serbian striker Nikola Stojilkovic arrived from Red Star Belgrade. Dimunitive Argentinian winger Leo Suarez arrived on loan from Villareal and he impressed as a second half substitute in the win over Alcorcon.
On the departure front former QPR midfielder Faurlin ended his disappointing career on the island and joined Marbella. Another one to disappoint was Carlos Castro, the marquee summer signing, and he joined Elche on loan. Merveil returned to his parent club Granada and Giner joined Ibiza. Summer signing Sergio Buenacasa had his season ended through a serious thigh abductor muscle injury.
Nottingham Forest attempted to sign central defender Antonio Raillo but only offered half of his buy out clause of €4m which was rejected. Raillo was bitterly disappointed at the failure of the move which would have more than doubled his salary. Nevertheless he buckled down and played a big part in the next game.
The most worrying departures were that of two 17 year olds from the Mallorca youth academy Pable Ramon and Xavi Sintes. Real Madrid paid their joint buyout clauses of €1.2m. They will stay with the islanders until the summer before moving to the Spanish capital. Madrid have cherry picked the academy in the past. Maybe these youngsters would have been better learning their trade here and getting an early opportunity in the first team. In Madrid they will face huge competition to get anywhere near even the second team.