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FC Barcelona visit RCD Mallorca this Saturday at 9.00pm CEST, so here’s the lowdown on the host club.
WHERE ARE THEY FROM?
The Mediterranean island of Mallorca, visited by some 28 million mainly sun-seeking tourists every year, needs little introduction. The football club are based in the capital, Palma de Mallorca, with its wonderful cathedral and old town.
Founded in 1916, the first of many first division appearances for RCD Mallorca came in 1960, but they would not be a regular feature until they spent 16 seasons among the elite from 1997 to 2013, including their proudest hour of all, winning the Copa del Rey in 2003, with two goals in the final against Huelva scored by a man who would later be a legend at Barça, Samuel Eto’o.
In 2017, they dropped down to the third tier Division 2B, but the recovery has been spectacular. Two years later and they were back with the big boys, and although they were immediately relegated they bounced straight back up and last season did manage to hold onto their place.
The 23,000 capacity Estadi de Son Moix, which replaced the former Estadi Lluís Sitjar in 1999, was given a new name in 2020, the Visit Mallorca Estadi, part of an active campaign to promote tourism on the island, and particularly at a time when the industry has been so severely hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
HEAD TO HEAD
Back in the 1999-2000 season, Mallorca beat Barça both home and away, but in 29 league meetings since then, Barça have only lost to the islanders three times (and twice at home), although all of those were late season encounters without too much left to play for.
After four straight Barça wins scoring at least four goals every time, last season Barça scraped wins in both games by the minimum. In Mallorca, a Luuk de Jong goal secured a narrow 1-0 win for the Catalans, while Memphis and Sergio Busquets scored the goals in the home fixture.
The most famous meeting between the teams was the 1998 Copa del Rey Final, which Barça won on penalties, the fatal Mallorca kick being missed by a former Barça player, Xabier Eskurza.
Last five meetings (all La Liga)
01/05/22 Barça 2-1 Mallorca
02/01/22 Mallorca 0-1 Barça
13/06/20 Mallorca 0-4 Barça
07/12/19 Barça 5-2 Mallorca
06/04/13 Barça 5-0 Mallorca
All in all, 2022/23 has not got off to too bad a start for the team. A fortnight ago, Mallorca picked up their second win of the season, 1-0 at home to Almeria. That moved them into the top half of the table. Only Real Betis (2-1) and Real Madrid (4-1) have managed to beat them in their first six games.
In total, Mallorca have won four of their last six games at home.
Most capped internationals
Vedat Muriqi (Kosovo, 44), Predrag Rajković (Serbia, 28), Matija Nastasić (Serbia, 24), Tino Kadewere (Zimbabwe, 19), Giovanni González (Uruguay,16), Martin Valjent (Slovakia, 12), Lee Kang-in (S Korea, 6), Clément Grenier (France, 5), Lago Junior (Ivory Coast, 5), Iddrisu Baba (Ghana, 5), Dominik Greif (Slovakia, 4), Amath Ndiaye (Senegal, 4), Rodrigo Battaglia (Argentina, 2)
Central midfielder Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta (below) was originally a product of the Athletic academy and spent one season (2017-18) at Barça B before heading to Mallorca via Las Palmas.
The club parted ways with Luis García Plaza in March of last year and brought in Javier Aguirre as a replacement. The Mexican, who played 59 times for his country, is one of the most respected coaches in world football, having managed the national teams of Mexico, Egypt and Japan, as well as various Spanish clubs, best known for guiding Osasuna to a fourth place finish in La Liga and for his three seasons in charge of Atlético Madrid.
Aguirre is therefore a familiar face on rival benches, but the past record shows that he is the man who needs to worry most. He has lost the last ten times that he has faced Barça.
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