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Next up for FC Barcelona is RCD Mallorca at the Camp Nou on Saturday at 9.00om CET. Time to take a closer look at the club, the players and their form.
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. The recovery has been spectacular. Two years later and they are back with the big boys!
HEAD TO HEAD
Back in the 1999-2000 season, Mallorca beat Barça both home and away, but in 26 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.
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.
This will be the first meeting between the teams for five years - and Mallorca's last two visits to Camp Nou were both 5-0 wins for Barça.
So far, Mallorca’s return to the top flight has not been too triumphant, with just four wins from their first 15 games, leaving them just one place above the relegation spots. Beating Real Madrid 1-0 has been the biggest highlight so far.
It’s away from home that they have truly been struggling. Big time. All six road games have produced six straight defeats and just three goals.
Mallorca’s mere 2.7 shots per game is the lowest in the league. Another curious stat, more penalties (14 in 15 games) have been given when Mallorca play than any other team.
Most capped internationals: Aleksandar Trajkovski (North Macedonia, 54), Baba Rahman (Ghana, 28), Lumor Agbenyenu (Ghana, 13), Takefusa Kubo (Japan, 7)
Barça connections: Takefusa Kubo spent four seasons at La Masia in his youth. After returning to FC Tokyo he eventually joined Real Madrid last summer, who have sent him on loan to Mallorca.
Top scorer 2019/20: Croatian Ante Budimir with 3
Vicente Moreno spent almost his entire playing career at Xerez. In the twilight of his career, it was his goal that won the club their first ever promotion to la Liga in 2009. He finally got to play first division football at the age of 35.
Soon after retiring he became manager of the club, followed by three years at Gimnastic Tarragona. Two years ago, he took over at Mallorca, a shadow of their former selves down in Division 2B. With the team now playing games at the Camp Nou in La Liga, there’s no denying that he’s done a pretty good job!
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Croatian striker Ante Budimir: “I’m an optimist, why can’t we get the first points away from home against FC Barcelona? We are conscious that we will face some of the best players in the world, but for us it’s the same thing to prepare against Barcelona or any other side. We always want to win."
“Before the game we will all applaud Lionel Messi, but when the game starts, we will have to try and stop him doing damage.”
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