One thing I’ve always kept an eye on since living here is sport. We have an amazing history of successful sportsmen and sportswomen in the Balearics. Our sporting facilities are second to none which of course is a help. We excel in many sports especially, tennis, motorcycling and of course football. That is the one I keep tabs on the most, mainly of course because my two boys play and I write about it each week.
This year though has been nothing short of exceptional, with so many success stories it’s something to really boast about.
Real Mallorca getting promoted back to La Liga is a huge boost for the island and its football. After the disappointment of being relegated from La Liga the season before last and losing the coach to a relegation rival. Luis García Plaza has done an amazing job that could actually culminate in them winning the league this weekend. They are 1 point behind Espanyol, so if they win and Espanyol lose or draw the title is theirs. Remember they’re playing budget was 19 million euros for the season. Espanyol’s was 45.3 million euros, Leganés was 26.7 million euros and Almeria was 27.6 million euros. So they’ve far exceeded expectations.
Attention will turn now to the squad and how they can strengthen in order that they don’t come back down again. Last time they were let down by the lack of goals and the defence, which was awful, conceding 65 goals. They won just one game away and drew three which was the worst in the league. At home they finished 15th so maintain that and improve the away form then they have a chance. Compare and contrast that to this season and admittedly against weaker teams but the same defence have the best record in the league conceding just 26 goals and in more games.
Goals wise their joint top scorers are Amath and Abdon with just 9 each, which is not good enough. The top scorer in the league was Raul de Tomas at Espanyol with 23 goals, so they need to find a forward that will score at least 20 goals.
Highlighting their lack of goals, their top scorer in La Liga was Ante Budimir with 13 goals and when they were relegated he famously downed tools and waited for a move. Osasuna took him on loan and he scored 11 goals for them this season. They have an option to buy for 8 million euros but so far no bid has been forthcoming. He said goodbye on his Instagram this week, so what will happen? Will he be welcome back to Mallorca? Let’s see.
A player that has been mentioned this week is forward Sergi Enrich from Eibar, who have been relegated. He is from Menorca and played at Mallorca from 2008-2013 playing 83 games for Mallorca B and 6 games for the first team. He has been at Eibar since 2015 scoring 32 goals. He would be a free transfer and would be a good addition to the squad in my opinion.
I’m sure they’ll be plenty of speculation in the coming weeks.
If there was a prize for the greatest and quickest rises for a football team then you should look no further than UD Ibiza. Having started in a regional league in 2015, fast forward to 2021 where they now find themselves in La Segunda. No other side from Ibiza has been higher and it’s a real rags to riches story. The club is owned by Amadeo Salvo, a former President of Valencia who has ploughed a lot of money into the club. After the disappointment of losing in the play-offs last season, they employed Unai Emery’s former number 2, Juan Carlos Carcedo and they have achieved their dream. It will be very interesting how they cope next season.
With the changing of the Spanish football pyramid below the two main leagues we find ourselves with representatives from the Balearics in all leagues.
In Primera RFEF we have Atlético Baleares from Mallorca who in truth have had a disappointing season but a good run at the end kept them where they are. It all changed after they appointed Xavi Calm as Coach and I’m expecting them to push hard for promotion next season.
In Segunda RFEF we have Peña Deportiva from Ibiza who have without doubt had an amazing season to maintain their position.
The only negative we’ve had is losing UD Poblense from Segunda RFEF to
Tercera RFEF on the last day of the season. But I’m sure they’ll come back up next season.
Ibiza Pitiusas and Andratx have been promoted from Tercera to Segunda RFEF and there is one final play off place to be sorted. It’s between, Constancia, Santanyi, Real Mallorca B and Platges de Calvia from Mallorca, PE Sant Jordi from Ibiza and Formentera.
Congratulations to CE Mercadal from Menorca who have guaranteed promotion back to Tercera. They have won all of their games so far this season and it will be good to welcome a team from the island again.
This means we have a representative from the islands in all Five divisions of the new Spanish Football Pyramid.
Other notable Balearic football news this year.
Three of the Barcelona ladies squad that gubbed Chelsea in the Champions League Final are from Mallorca. Reserve Goalkeeper Cata Coll, was born in Portol, played for UD Collerense and has done some training with my youngest goalkeeper Son Jude.
Forward Mariona Caldentey was born in Felanitx and played for UD Collerense and finally midfielder Patri Guijarro who was born in Palma, played for CF Patronato and UD Collerense before moving to Barcelona at the age of 17.
Carlos Vicens from Colonia de San Jordi in Mallorca is head coach at Manchester City u-18’s. He has just coached them to become the Northern Division title winners pipping Manchester United and the beating Fulham the Southern Champions to become the National Champions.
Xisco Muñoz from Manacor here in Mallorca got Watford promoted back to the Premier League after only being made Manager in December last year.
And to top it off, from Villareal’s win against Manchester United in the Europa League final. They had two former players of Real Mallorca in Gerard Moreno and Pervis Estupiñan and one of their trainers Xisco Nadal was born in Palma.
Balearic football has become the new hotbed of Spanish football and long may it continue.
As you read this, Ayesha and I will be into our second day of broadcasting our 36hr Charity Radiothon on Radio One Mallorca. Any way you can help us, we and the charities will be very grateful.
Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at email@example.com