Home Sports PETE JENSON: Abdon Prats is the Mallorca favourite with the trademark moustache who attends pottery classes… the 31-year-old has taken them from the third tier to the brink of a first Copa del Rey final since 2003

PETE JENSON: Abdon Prats is the Mallorca favourite with the trademark moustache who attends pottery classes… the 31-year-old has taken them from the third tier to the brink of a first Copa del Rey final since 2003

by Alexander
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Mallorca's iconic striker, Abdón Prats, is worth his weight in gold to the fans and wants to return Mallorca to the world map.

There are some players who, although they will always be a million miles away from any Ballon d’Or podium, will always be worth their weight in gold to the fans who follow them. The Mallorcan Abdón Prats is one of those footballers.

The characteristic tache, the golden goals that over the years have earned his team promotion to La Liga or saved them from relegation, and the ceramic hobby that helps him relax when he is not playing, are part of the enduring characters of Spanish football, one who is 90 minutes away from the Copa del Rey final.

‘We know what it could mean for us to reach the final; and for the American owners, for Andy Kohlberg (the former tennis professional who is now majority shareholder and president). “He knows it’s a big step for the club,” says Abdón, before tonight’s semi-final second leg against Real Sociedad with the score of the first match 0-0.

“Mallorca has returned to the map in Spain, but if we reach the final and reach Europe, we will also return to the world map. There is great enthusiasm for that. For the club it would mean an economic injection and (the possibility) of bringing in players who, together with those of us who are here, can help us grow and improve.

Abdón has already written his name several times in the history of the club. His uncle Toni played as a goalkeeper on the team. He came through the youth system but had to leave and build a reputation as a lower league poacher elsewhere after limited opportunities at home.

Mallorca's iconic striker, Abdón Prats, is worth his weight in gold to the fans and wants to return Mallorca to the world map.

Mallorca’s iconic striker, Abdón Prats, is worth his weight in gold to the fans and wants to return Mallorca to the world map.

Mallorca would reach its first Copa del Rey final since 2003 with a victory over Real Sociedad

Mallorca would reach its first Copa del Rey final since 2003 with a victory over Real Sociedad

Mallorca would reach its first Copa del Rey final since 2003 with a victory over Real Sociedad

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In 2017, when they were in the third division, he returned and his goals helped them return to the second division. Then, his wonderful goal in the play-off final against Deportivo earned them promotion to La Liga in 2019.

Two seasons ago he came off the bench and scored a late goal in the penultimate game of the season to keep them in the first division. He was crying after the game. It will take something special to top those two moments, but taking Mallorca to their first cup final since 2003 (when Samuel Eto’o scored twice to help them win 3-0 over Recreativo) could do it.

“Whenever there has been one of these magical nights I have had an internal feeling (that I was going to score),” he says. ‘I knew that an opportunity would come my way and that I had to take advantage of it when it happened. It’s about having conviction in yourself. “I believe in my ability to help bring some happiness to all Mallorca fans.”

There have been times over the years when he has not been the first choice and has been tempted by the idea of ​​moving on, but the pull of his hometown club has always been too strong. This year he is the top scorer in the Spanish Cup with six goals.

They love it for the goals and because it is a throwback to a simpler time, when footballers had a little more in common with the spectators who watched them.

“I have played in Second B, Second and First and I have been the same person in all of those divisions,” he says. ‘Of course you win more (by playing at a higher level) and that can make your life easier. But you always have to keep your feet on the ground.

“Being a professional footballer in any division is difficult. “But to get to the top division and stay there and have some magical moments along the way, and to be able to have this love story between me and the club, I’m very proud of that.”

Mallorca’s path to the semi-final began at the Galician semi-professional Boiro. Some players would have difficulty in a humble environment. “I like it,” Abdon smiles. “I’m not the type of player who, because I’m in the first division, looks down on footballers who, for whatever reason, have to work eight hours a day before going to training at night.

Real Sociedad drew 0-0 in Mallorca in the first leg and will host them on Tuesday night.

Prats (bottom center) has played for Mallorca since his time in the third division and says that “he has been the same person in all those divisions”

The striker sports a characteristic mustache and relaxes by making pottery, what he calls “therapy”

‘They ask you for your shirt after the game and you ask them for theirs. And they say “mine, really?” and sometimes they tell you they can’t, but you want a memory of those games because it’s part of your career.’

Apart from the glory of winning a trophy, the club could return to Europe if they reach the final. Will Prats participate in this European adventure if it comes to fruition? ‘I’m 31 and I would like to play for 6 or 7 more years; “Let’s see if my joints hold up,” he smiles.

It seems like it’s built to last, in part because it knows how to unplug. He stands behind the potter’s wheel to relax off the pitch. “Now I have a class after this interview,” he says.

‘The two hours I have there help me forget everything that happens around me, whether it’s a hard week or not, and I really enjoy it. It’s a therapy for me that I discovered four or five years ago. And I do practical things. It’s nice to be able to have coffee in the morning from a cup you make yourself.’

And what’s up with that signature tache? “We just celebrated carnival here,” he says. ‘People dress up as Abdon! They put one of those adhesive mustaches on the children or paint them. It is fun.’

They’ll be sporting the fake mustaches again on Tuesday night if Abdon scores another historic goal. Mallorca in a Cup final for the first time in 19 years: it will be carnival times again.

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