Pablo Ortells’ arrival as Sporting Director leaves Recio out in the cold 🇬🇧


On Friday, RCD Mallorca announced the arrival of Pablo Ortells as the new Sporting Director at the club, a move that leaves current Sporting Director Javier Recio out in the cold. The decision came as a surprise to many but was described by the club as the culmination of a search that ‘spanned many months and many interviews with various candidates’.

Who is Pablo Ortells?

Pablo Ortells, 40 years of age, has spent the past 17 years at Villarreal, working his way up through the ranks from youth coach all the way up to his most recent role of Sporting Director. In his time as Sporting Director the club has made unprecedented profits (24 million Euros across 4 years) arising from good player recruitment and selling at a profit. Ortells has resided over the sales of players such as Eric Bailly (38M to Manchester United), Pablo Fornals (28M to West Ham) and Rodri (25M to Atletico Madrid). However, all has not been rosy as there have been a number of marquee signings that have flopped such as Roberto Soriano (14m euros) and Enes Ünal (14m euros). Ortells has achieved top level coaching awards, scouted at the highest level and is described as someone who stays out of the media and works in the shadows.

Why would Ortells leave Villarreal for Mallorca?

Many in the football world have expressed surprise that Pablo Ortells would decide to leave Villarreal after so many successful years, especially to a club which many would argue would be a step down. Insecurity over Mallorca’s La Liga status and seemingly less spending power has left many Spanish football fans and supporters of the yellow submarine scratching their heads. However, looking more forensically at Villarreal’s ownership may give some suggestion as to his reasons for leaving when coupled with the ambitious nature of the American ownership group of Mallorca.

Villarreal are owned and run by the super rich Roig family, also part owners of the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona. It is thought that Fernando and Juan Roig’s leadership of the club means that, despite his job title as Sporting Director, Ortells’ autonomy over the football decisions was sometimes restricted. Mallorca are likely to offer a greater degree of control and freedom over the sporting direction of the club, an opportunity that Ortells does not seem to have been able to resist. Of course, with any enticement of a highly rated Sporting Director from one club to another, there will have been a more than competitive financial package on the table for Ortells which will have contributed to him making the short hop across the Mediterranean sea from the Valencian autonomous community.

Where does this move leave Javier Recio?

There has been no official announcement from the club on the status of Javier Recio, but a new face in the role he is the current occupier of cannot spell good news for him. Marca have speculated that Recio will remain at the club but in a reduced role. Recio was appointed by the recently departed CEO Maheta Molango back in the Summer of 2016. In fact, Molango’s departure may well have been the catalyst for the search for Recio’s successor. Recio’s time at the club can best be described as a mixed bag of success and abject failure with his signings. For every Salva Sevilla, Ante Budimir, Dani Rodriguez and Martin Valjent, there have been numerous players who have arrived and left without making any tangible impact on the first team.

Recio has overseen the permanent signing of over 40 players at the club in his three and a half years at the club in addition to numerous loanees. These have included some notably expensive white elephants, such as Yannis Salibur (2 apps) for over 2 million Euros and Igor Zlatanovic (11 apps 0 goals for Numancia in the Segunda) for over a million Euros in the Summer of 2019. The year previous saw Carlos Castro arrive for almost half a million Euros and play just eight times before Vicente Moreno discarded him on loan. The long list of arrivals has included numerous free transfers who have added little to Vicente Moreno’s squad and quietly disappeared from the scene. Such wastage has meant that, without Maheta Molango to protect him, Recio’s replacement was almost inevitable and only a matter of time.

Standing still is moving backwards

Mallorca’s American ownership group have realised that such wastage within the tight budgets that they are forced to operate under is simply unsustainable. Standing still and maintaining the status quo and other clubs will accelerate past. The ownership group have been decisive in their action in removing Maheta Molango from post and have wasted no time in forensically examining the inner workings of the club and seeking an upgrade. Javier Recio is out in the cold and only time will tell whether Pablo Ortells is the man to oversee the next glorious period in Real Mallorca’s history.

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