Salva Sevilla and the Young Pretender to his Throne 🇬🇧

After the relegation to the Segunda B, not many would have taken the gamble on moving down a division to join the newly relegated Mallorca. One man did, not just one division but two, with Salva Sevilla moving from Espanyol to Mallorca. Many eyebrows were raised but he has proved to be the talisman, a trusted leader and the literal centre of everything for Real Mallorca in the last two and a bit seasons. This Sunday Mallorca will face Villarreal without him and there is a new pretender to his throne.

Salva the Saviour

91 appearances in just over two seasons demonstrates that Salva Sevilla has, and continues to be, a player central to the success that manager Vicente Moreno has brought to Mallorca since they arrived in tandem in the Summer of 2017. Sevilla, Manolo Reina, Xisco Campos and Marc Pedraza all arrived in that solemn Summer following relegation to the Segunda B. The four experienced heads were recruited to guide the comparatively youthful squad that included the likes of Abdon Prats, Alex Lopez, Fran Gamez, Antonio Raillo and Joan Sastre. Guide them they did as the side finished champions of the Segunda B and were promoted at the first time of asking from a division notorious for swallowing up teams that descend.

Back in the Segunda

Salva Sevilla went on to play 37 games for Mallorca in 17/18 and rolled back the years in helping the club to bounce back to the Segunda immediately. One year older and one year wiser but some were concerned that he would also be one year slower in the Segunda. Yet Sevilla’s quality is not and never was his pace. It is in his ability to read a game, to drop into a space, to dictate the pace of an attack, knowing when to play backwards or square and when to pounce upon an opportunity.

Sevilla proved his doubters wrong, directing his orchestra as Mallorca rose back into La Liga for the first time in seven seasons. He made nine assists and scored four goals, including a crucial one to make it 2-0 in the play off final second leg win over Deportivo La Coruña that sealed the return to the top flight.

Just how much will Mallorca miss him?

Ask any Mallorca fan and they would likely tell you that the Andalusian is central to all good that happens for Mallorca. However, the statistics suggest that he may not be as missed as first thought. Sevilla was absent from the squad on four occasions last season. Of those games Mallorca won three and drew one, including a rare away victory, one of only four last season. To add insult to injury for Sevilla, they did not concede a goal in any of these games. Whether coincidence or chance, Mallorca will be hoping that their good run in Sevilla’s absence continues on Sunday.

Summer Signing’s Time to Shine

In the Summer window the club purchased Aleix Febas from Real Madrid Castilla following successful loan spells in the Segunda division with Real Zaragoza and Alabcete. There was a certain feeling that the club was future proofing the squad due to the age of such an important play maker such as Sevilla. Febas played his two previous seasons in central midfield rather than the more advanced number ten role he currently plays for Mallorca, playing over 40 games in both seasons, twice missing out on promotion to La Liga. He was a losing semi finalist in consecutive years, last season against Mallorca.

The purchase was an exciting one but the player has yet to show his full potential to the Mallorca fans, despite flashes of brilliance such as the defence splitting back heel that set up Lago Junior earlier in the season. Perhaps his form is due to the fact he is playing in a more unfamiliar role as an advanced midfielder just off Ante Budimir. Normally reserved for Sevilla, his suspension on Sunday against Villarreal should give Febas the opportunity to play in that play maker role. Cometh the hour cometh the man, it is time for the young pretender to Sevilla’s throne to shine.

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