Football Features

12 players you probably didn’t realise played for Mallorca

By Steve Jennings

Published: 13:56, 25 June 2019

RCD Mallorca are back in La Liga for the first time since their relegation in the 2012/13 season.

The club was founded 1916 and has enjoyed modest success across its century in existence, winning the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

But times have been in tough of late with Mallorca falling into the third division of the Spanish football ladder. However, they have now secured back-to-back promotions, beating Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 in the Segunda Division play-off final this week.

Mallorca’s achievements, low-key though they are, shouldn’t be played down. But they do pale in comparison to some of the trophies picked up by players who have passed through the club in recent years.

To mark their promotion back to the big time, we’ve had a look at 12 players you probably didn’t realise played for Mallorca once upon a time.

Samuel Eto’o

Mallorca appearances: 165

Samuel Eto’o went on to win three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies with Barcelona, Serie A and the Champions League with Inter Milan and much more. But many will not know the four-time African Player of the Year first started to perform like an elite star during a five-year spell with Mallorca.

Having initially joined on loan from Real Madrid, the Cameroonian bagged 70 goals in 165 appearances for Mallorca, earning himself a move back to one of La Liga’s big two – this time with Barcelona. The rest is history: Eto’o went on to become one of the best strikers in Europe and eventually enjoyed spells in England with Chelsea and Everton. The 38-year-old is still playing, turning out for Qatar SC.

Ivan Campo

Mallorca appearances: 34

Ivan Campo is perhaps best known, at least in England, as the bushy-haired defender who left Real Madrid for Bolton Wanderers, spending six years at the Lancashire club. But prior to his five-year spell in the Spanish capital, Campo had one season at Mallorca, for whom he scored one goal in 34 appearances.

His performances in midfield for Mallorca attracted the interest of Real Madrid, where he won La Liga and two Champions League titles. He retired in 2010 after spending the final years of his career with Ipswich Town and AEK Larnaca.

Giovani dos Santos

Mallorca appearances: 32

A player of huge promise during his time at Barcelona, Giovani dos Santos’ career began to go downhill when he joined Tottenham in the summer of 2008. The Mexican failed to convince manager Harry Redknapp and was sent out on a series of loans, including to Mallorca in 2012/13.

He scored six goals in 29 La Liga appearances for the club but couldn’t prevent relegation. Mallorca were unable to sign him permanently, so Dos Santos joined Villarreal where he revived his career somewhat. The 30-year-old went on to play 88 times for La Galaxy before his release last year. He is currently a free agent.

Quinton Fortune

Mallorca appearances: 8

Fortune played in three of Manchester United’s Premier League title-winning seasons but only received one medal having failed to play the required 10 matches. He played nine times in 2003 but was handed a medal by special dispensation. Indeed, the South African had a strange career, and it began in Spain.

The left-sided defender or midfielder made a handful of appearances for Mallorca before being snapped up by Atletico Madrid, who he then left for Manchester United in 1999. He finished his career with Doncaster Rovers in 2010 after spells in Italy and Belgium.

Finidi George

Mallorca appearances: 45

George won three consecutive Eredivisie titles and the Champions League with Ajax in the mid-1990s before jumping ship for Real Betis, the club he is best known for playing in Spain. But before his surprise move to Ipswich in 2001, the Nigerian spent a season with Mallorca.

He scored five goals for the club, who he joined as a result of Betis’ relegation to the second division. Three  years later, George was back at Mallorca on trial, during which time he made an additional 14 appearances before retiring.

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Jonas Gutierrez

Mallorca appearances: 104

Before making 205 appearances for Newcastle United, Jonas Gutierrez scored five goals in 104 games for Mallorca. There was a contract dispute when he wanted to leave the club which eventually resulted in Mallorca receiving compensation from Newcastle, where the midfielder spent seven years of his career.

Gutierrez made a full recovery from testicular cancer during his time at St James’ Park before returning to Spain with Deportivo La Coruna. The 35-year-old, famous for his Spider-Man mask celebration, is now playing out the final years of his career in his native Argentina.

Alan Hutton

Mallorca appearances: 17

Alan Hutton spent the second half of the 2012/13 season on loan at Mallorca from Aston Villa. The Scotland international was willing to stay at the club the following year, despite their relegation, but instead returned to Villa, spending part of the 2013/14 campaign on loan at Bolton.

Currently without a club having left Villa at the end of his contract, Hutton certainly enjoyed his best years at the beginning of his career with Rangers, which earned him a move to Tottenham.

Lauren

Mallorca appearances: 80

Lauren was part of Mallorca’s Spanish Super Cup-winning side in 1998. The right-back would go on to enjoy plenty more success at Arsenal, where he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, immortalising himself as one of Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ in 2003/04.

During his final few months with Mallorca, Lauren won the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon in 2000 and was named Player of the Tournament. He is now retired having finished his career back in Spain with Cordoba.

Lionel Scaloni

Mallorca appearances: 28

The current manager of the Argentina national team, Lionel Scaloni played 28 times for Mallorca on loan from Lazio towards the end of his playing career. The wing-back spent 18 months at the Spanish club before returning to Lazio and playing for Atalanta ahead of his retirement in 2015.

Scaloni also spent time with West Ham during a loan spell in 2006, helping the Hammers reach the FA Cup final. The 41-year-old won La Liga and the Copa del Rey earlier in his career with Deportivo.

Sander Westerveld

Mallorca appearances: 6

Sander Westerveld burst onto the scene in the Netherlands with FC Twente and Vitesse. He left his homeland for Liverpool, where he was first-choice for two years before leaving for Real Sociedad in Spain. When his game time started reducing, the goalkeeper joined Mallorca on loan but didn’t have much luck, making just six appearances.

Short spells back in England followed with Portsmouth and Everton. The 44-year-old is now a goalkeeping coach at South African club Ajax Cape Town.

Thomas Partey

Mallorca appearances: 38

Thomas Partey, who has been a key part of Diego Simeone’s squad in recent years, initially found it difficult to break into the Atletico Madrid team. He stepped down a level in the 2013/14 season, joining recently relegated Mallorca on loan in the Segunda Division, scoring five goals.

After another loan spell at Almeria the following year, Partey has experienced a steady rise to prominence at Atletico. He made 42 appearances across all competitions in 2018/19, scoring three goals, and was part of Atletico’s Europa League-winning side in 2017/18.

Jonathan de Guzman

Mallorca appearances: 37

Jonathan de Guzman spent the first five years of his senior career at Feyenoord before being lured to Spain by Mallorca. But just 37 appearances and seven goals later, the midfielder was a Villarreal player. He has been a journeyman since, plying his trade for Swansea, Napoli, Carpi, Chievo and currently Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 31-year-old has also played 14 times for his country and has been forced to overcome various injury difficulties throughout his career.