The entire kingdom of futsal is occupied by the wealthy sections of soccer clubs, in the case of Benfica, Sporting de Portugal and Anderlecht, finalists of the Final Four. Rather, almost everything. An island populated by irreducible players resists the invader. is the Gaul Mallorca and Palma Futsal, the Asterix and Obelix of the ball, semifinalists and European hosts that this Friday will fight against Benfica (21.00 per goal play) for getting into the final on Sunday. “Our magic potion is work”, resolves the president, Tomeu Quetglas. “That and the commitment to improve each year, to create a sports culture that did not exist on the island,” adds José Tirado, the entity’s general and sports director for 14 years. “We have grown so much that we have gone from amateur to professional in all aspects. The only thing that remains is the name of the club”, adds the coach, Antonio Vadillo.
25 years of history. The club was born 25 years ago, when a technician from the Manacor City Council called the late former president of the entity, Miquel Jaume, with the need to use the town’s pavilion. “And if we talk to a group of clubs that form a league and create a team?” Jaume asked his friend Quetglas minutes later. Total success because they were promoted continuously until they reached Second Division. But everything hatched in 2010, already in the First Division, when they settled in Palma because the pavilion was too small for the demands of the league. “That’s when we realized that people wanted a room,” reflects Quetglas. And from the 20 people who watched the first games we went to more than 3,300 in each game. “The Foundation also helps a lot in that,” argues Tirado, referring to the Fundació Palma-Futsal, which was created a little less than three years ago; “How helpful is the initiative of picking up people from three different towns in three buses to bring them closer to match day, to give them a tour of the club…”. Another initiative is that the players visit 115 schools a year to give lectures. With the communion of the stands and a job well done, the team is now in the Final Four, also fighting for the League with Barça, who have one more point and one game less. “It’s a season And if we win a title, which is up to the club because we have never won one yet, it would be a class of honor”, says goalkeeper and captain Carlos Barrón.
Modest but self-sufficient. With the death of patron Jaume two years ago, salaries were lowered. “Now there is a management board, a group of friends to move it forward,” reveals Tirado. In front, Quetglas, who reveals: “We don’t have naming nor do we want a main sponsor because we would stop being ourselves and we would have a dependency”. He picks up the baton Tirado: “This policy makes us self-sufficient.” Although they also have institutional support. “18% of the budget comes from public aid, plus the transfer of the pavilion, which is provided by the City Council,” says Tirado. “And then there is the Government and the Island Council, which help us financially because we sold them that we were playing in the Champions League,” Quetglas elaborates. This results in a budget of 1.2 million per year, very far from Barça -nearly six times more- or from Benfica and Sporting, which are at least triple. “The average salary of the players is between 30,000 and 40,000 euros,” reports Tirado. “In other elite clubs, more is charged. That is why so many leave ”, adds Barrón, a graduate in Sports Science and Physical Education because he knows that he will have to work when he retires.
trampoline club. Accustomed to having the best players taken away – this season Benfica paid for the clauses of Nunes and Igor; and next summer Tomaz and Eloy Rojas will leave-, Palma must be rebuilt every year. “Although we make long contracts, we cannot retain them against the salaries of the big teams. That is why we are the team of the last decade that has made the most transfers ”, reflects Tirado. “We are a club-showcase,” Quetglas accepts. Nor is it a disappointment for Vadillo: “From the team of two years ago we only have three players left, but others always arrive and grow.” That is why the philosophy is to invest in young people with talent and growth potential, focused on the Brazilian and Argentine markets, but also the Iranian one because they have Tayebi and Moslem. “We have opened a melon and we have anticipated it by daring to bring them. We must take risks as a club ”, wields Tirado; “And we hit more than we miss, which is why we have earned the respect of the world of futsal because the players know that if they come they will be revalued.”
ball and beers. “Praise weakens. We are here to compete and go down into the mud, to give it our all and suffer!” Vadillo blurts out at the end of an hour and 50 minute session at an intensity that takes your breath away. Although several players approach him and say: “Mister, we are here for another two hours.” Vadillo laughs. “My greatest pride is that I feel very identified with the team, with the idea and the training methodology”, he clarifies. One that is based on video. “The first training is a video. I tell them, ‘This is what I want.’ And from there we began to grow ”, he underlines. Although it is somewhat moldable because they have gone from being a very good defensive team to now being the top scorer in transitions and quick attacks, with Luan as goalkeeper-player. “That depends on the characteristics of the players, I adapt myself”, he considers. The footballers appreciate it, as well as his flexibility, since he always lets them have a couple of beers on holidays. Like two weeks ago, when they all met on the beach to play footvolley. There was no shortage of jokes from Rivillos and Cléber, the funniest of the group. “But when we laugh the most is when there is a pipe in the rounds. That’s deadly”, says Barrón, who also slips that the team’s DJs are Brazilians.
At home, by discard. This Final Four It is the ideal occasion for Palma Futsal, host because at first it had to be held in Poland, but UEFA rejected it due to its proximity to Ukraine, also because the Portuguese have Russian players who could not enter the country. UEFA, then, asked the four finalists to present their candidacy. Only Palma did it and, although it will not be held in its usual stadium, it will be played in the Velòdrom, a pavilion whose remodeling has been promoted by the international organization with an investment of more than half a million. For them the tournament begins with Benfica. “They have one of the best squads in the world. But we can compete with them because money and the names on the shirts don’t win everything”, says Tirado. “Our budget is small change for them. But nobody beats us to work ”, slides Quetglas. “This is 40×20 and five against five. If we play at our level, we will have chances”, adds Vadillo. “It’s our moment,” concludes Barrón. So in a few hours, in the Palma dressing room, the cry before each game will be heard: “One, two, three, team!”
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