A holiday Island club aiming for cup final

The freshly made pizza at Mallorca’s Son Moix home is so good that players stick around after La Liga games to share a slice with those fans lucky enough to be seated in the club’s VIP corner.

It is baked at 800 degrees in a portable oven with ingredients ferried in from Naples, and Andy Kohlberg – the former tennis player and current club president – calls it “literally the best pizza you’ll ever have”.

At Mallorca, international influences both on and off the pitch have helped the Balearics club establish themselves in La Liga after a turbulent few years.

They are also now on the brink of Copa del Rey success for only the second time in their history, following a Samuel Eto’o-inspired triumph in 2003.

After a run that included triumphs over Girona and Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao stand in Los Bermellones’ way in Saturday’s final in Seville.

Up to 20,000 fans are expected to make the trip from the island, with many more watching on the giant screen erected in Palma’s Placa de la Reina.

“As a Mallorcan, it’s a dream,” said forward and cult hero Abdon Prats. “We are a club to be proud of, one that has been reborn after eight years.”

In 2016 Mallorca were heavily in debt when they were bought by a group including Kohlberg and Robert Sarver – who co-owned NBA side Phoenix Suns until Sarver was suspended and fined after an NBA investigation into claims of racism and misogyny in 2022 – as well as basketball legend Steve Nash.

That season ended with relegation to Spain’s third tier, and since then Mallorca have climbed back to the top flight, been relegated and then promoted again in 2020-21.

With former England defender Graeme le Saux also on the board, Mallorca are now enjoying their third successive season in the Spanish top flight.

“It’s an understatement to say it’s been a rollercoaster,” Kohlberg, who has since bought out Sarver’s shares, told BBC Sport. “It’s been a challenge, but we’ve worked through it.

“It’s tough planning long term when you’re not sure what division you’re going to be in next year, but hopefully we’ve made some progress.

“We learned things along the way and the goal is obviously to establish ourselves in La Liga and be kind of a top-10 team.”

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