Tag Archives: mallorca

Cesc Fabregas scores hat-trick but it"s Abidal who gets Nou Camp ovation with emotional return

Fabregas scores a hat-trick but it's Abidal who gets Nou Camp ovation with emotional return

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 6 April 2013

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 6 April 2013

Cesc Fabregas scored the first hat-trick of his career as Barcelona moved closer to the Primera Division title with a 5-0 victory over Real Mallorca, but the main story was the return to action of Eric Abidal after a year out following liver surgery.

The home side were also inspired by
head coach Tito Vilanova, who was on the Nou Camp touchline for the
first time since January after undergoing treatment for cancer.

Abidal's appearance brought the crowd
to their feet, with the Frenchman given a standing ovation when he
replaced Gerard Pique in the 70th minute.

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

Happy return: Barcelona's Eric Abidal received a rousing reception

The 33-year-old former France
defender, who was passed fit to return to training with his team mates
last month, is a huge favourite with the Barca fans.

In a pitch-side television interview with Spanish broadcaster Canal Plus, Abidal thanked the cousin who provided part of his liver for the procedure.

'It was a very special moment for me after a year out,' said Abidal, wearing a shirt with 'Merci mon cousin' on the front.

Merci: Eric Abidal wears a tribute to his cousin

Merci: Eric Abidal wears a tribute to his cousin

'I want to thank my cousin as without him I would not be here today. It is a unique moment,' he added.

Abidal's return is well timed as Barca centre backs Carles Puyol and Javier Mascherano and full back Adriano are all out injured at a critical stage of the season.

In the game itself, it was Fabregas who commanded the spotlight. In the injury-enforced absence of Lionel Messi, he scored three and
set up two for Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona romped home.

Man of the moment: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hattrick

Man of the moment: Cesc Fabregas scored his first competitive hattrick

Mallorca held their own but it was no surprise when Barcelona made the breakthrough with two goals in two minutes.

Fabregas carried the ball from midfield and played a one-two with Alexis before steadying himself and coolly slotting the ball home across goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.

Mallorca's heads went down and in the 22nd minute they found themselves 2-0 adrift. This time Fabregas cut inside on the left of the area before unleashing a shot which Aouate pushed away from goal only for Alexis to follow up and fire home.

Happy return: Eric Abidal

Happy return: Eric Abidal

In the 37th minute an intricate passing move ended with Fabregas laying a first-time ball off to Alexis on the right of the area which he reciprocated for Fabregas to drill home.

The former Arsenal captain was involved everywhere and a minute later he provided a superb pass over the top for Alexis, who had got between two defenders, controlling the ball with his right before slotting home with his left.

Fabregas wrapped up his hat-trick seconds after the restart when he collected Iniesta's threaded ball and checked inside the defender before slotting home from close range.

Lionel Messi sidelined for at least one game after limping out of Barcelona Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain

Messi faces rare spell on the sidelines.. but Barcelona are better off in Europe without their star man!

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

10:17 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:15 GMT, 3 April 2013

It's a sight that has been thankfully rare over the years for Barcelona fans and the millions who appreciate his genius.

But Lionel Messi is facing a spell on the sidelines of up to three weeks after being substituted at half-time during last night's Champions League tie in Paris with a hamstring injury.

The club have confirmed that he has a thigh injury and will miss Saturday's match at home to Real Mallorca at the very least. Messi even took to his Facebook page to confirm his knock isn't as bad as first feared.

Scroll down for video

Allaying fears: Messi posted this picture on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, saying his hamstring injury was not as serious as first thought

Allaying fears: Messi posted this picture on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon, saying his hamstring injury was not as serious as first thought

Check up: Messi is accompanied by defender Jordi Alba as he walks to the medical centre at Barcelona's training ground. Initial scans on his hamstring injury suggest the damage isn't as bad as first feared

Check up: Messi is accompanied by defender Jordi Alba as he walks to the medical centre at Barcelona's training ground. Initial scans on his hamstring injury suggest the damage isn't as bad as first feared

Lionel Messi has his hamstring injury assessed at Barcelona's training ground

Rare injury blow: Lionel Messi (second left) watched the second half of Barcelona's 2-2 draw with PSG after suffering a hamstring injury

Rare injury blow: Lionel Messi (second left) watched the second half of Barcelona's 2-2 draw with PSG after suffering a hamstring injury

Deadly: Before going off, Messi opened the scoring with his 57th goal of the season

Deadly: Before going off, Messi opened the scoring with his 57th goal of the season

MESSI'S APPEARANCES

Goals scored in brackets

2004-2005: 9 (1)
2005-2006: 25 (8)
2006-2007: 36 (17)
2007-2008: 40 (16)
2008-2009: 51 (38)
2009-2010: 53 (47)
2010-2011: 55 (53)
2011-2012: 60 (73)
2012-2013: 45 (57)

Depending on his recovery, it could also
see him absent from the return with PSG next week and subsequent La
Liga matches that will see Barca secure the title.

For someone who is always target No 1 for brutish defenders, Lionel Messi is astonishingly resilient.

His untouchable scoring record and long list of accolades are testament not only to his brilliance but a good injury record.

In fact this season, the 25-year-old has played 3,193 of a possible 3,420 minutes in the league and Champions League – meaning he's missed just 227 minutes of action in these competitions.

Representing a club inevitably involved to the business end of competitions, Messi is used to playing in excess of 50 matches a season for Barcelona and up to a dozen more for Argentina.

Whereas other star players, particularly in the Premier League, are rested or rotated for less important games, Messi is as likely to start against Granada and Getafe than he is against Real Madrid.

But the physical toll rarely shows on his body, with the Argentine suffering only four injury lay-offs of note over his career.

Concern: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova talks to Messi during last night's quarter-final, first leg

Concern: Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova talks to Messi during last night's quarter-final, first leg

Bloodied: Messi took a knock to the knee, which led to him being taken off at half-time

Bloodied: Messi took a knock to the knee, which led to him being taken off at half-time

Pain: Messi grabs the back of his right leg during the match at the Parc des Princes

Pain: Messi grabs the back of his right leg during the match at the Parc des Princes

Before last night, he had not had a muscle injury for three-and-a-half years, when a calf problem ruled him out of a Champions League tie with Inter Milan and a league Clasico with Real in November 2009.

He was an unused substitute in the Inter tie as Pep Guardiola decided not to risk him.

He missed league games against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao in September 2010 with a stretched ligament, but returned for a trip to Russia to play Rubin Kazan the following week.

Prior to that, you have to go back to the 2007-2008 season when a 20-year-old Messi missed about 10 weeks of the season with a couple of injury scares.

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

Source: Opta

While Barcelona's quarter-final tie with PSG is delicately poised at 2-2, Messi's team-mates won't be too concerned by his absence.

The statistics show that, in Champions League games since Messi broke into the first team in 2004, they have won 71 per cent of matches without him and just 56 per cent of games when he's been rested or injured.

This is probably explained by Barcelona's run to the trophy in 2006, when Messi played just six of the club's 13 games.

Golden Balls: Messi, four time Ballon D'Or winner, shakes hands with David Beckham before the match

Golden Balls: Messi, four time Ballon D'Or winner, shakes hands with David Beckham before the match

By contrast, in La Liga, Barcelona have won 76 per cent of games since 2004 with him in the team.

But when Messi is absent, they have won only half.

The injury will bring to an end his record run of scoring in 19 consecutive league games. His first-half goal against PSG also drew him level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz as top scorer in the Champions League with eight goals.

In addition, defender Javier Mascherano was taken off on a stretcher after 84 minutes with a knee injury and will be missing for 'four to six weeks' according to Barca coach Jordi Roura.

Injury worry: Messi's compatriot Javier Mascherano was stretchered off late in the game

Injury worry: Messi's compatriot Javier Mascherano was stretchered off late in the game

Messi's absence turns the spotlight on Barcelona's misfiring strike force.

Spain's David Villa and Pedro, Chile's Alexis Sanchez, and midfielder-cum-forward Cesc Fabregas have managed only three goals between them in Europe, trailing way behind Messi, the Champions League's leading scorer for the the last four seasons in a row.

Sanchez is clearly lacking in confidence, as was seen with two poorly-taken chances on Tuesday, though he did win the penalty for Xavi to put Barca 2-1 up near the end.

Misfiring: Barcelona will rely on the out-of-form Alexis Sanchez for the second leg next week

Misfiring: Barcelona will rely on the out-of-form Alexis Sanchez for the second leg next week

Villa has failed to recover his consistency and sharpness since breaking his leg at the Club World Cup in December 2011, and Fabregas has been short of form in recent weeks.

Pedro, who was suspended on Tuesday, should have recovered from a calf injury for the second leg, but has yet to get off the mark in the Champions League this season.

Cristian Tello is another option. The little-used, young winger scored one and set up the second for Messi in their 2-2 draw at Real Zaragoza in La Liga last Saturday, and brings a directness and pace to an attack that at times lacks a cutting edge.

He has scored one goal in the Champions League this season.

Beckham pleased with draw against Barcelona

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Manchester City and Spurs face battle to sign Fernando Llorente in January

City and Spurs face battle to sign Llorente in January as club insist striker will not be sold

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UPDATED:

20:46 GMT, 18 December 2012

Athletic Bilbao president Josu Urrutia has reiterated the Primera Division club have no intention of selling wantaway star striker Fernando Llorente during the January transfer window.

The Spain international's future is uncertain after announcing this summer he would not be signing a new contract with Athletic once his current one runs out at the end of the season.

A host of clubs across Europe, including Manchester City and Tottenham, are interested in the 27-year-old but Athletic intend to make any interested parties wait until next summer to get their man.

Hot property: Fernando Llorente is wanted by a host of clubs across Europe

Hot property: Fernando Llorente is wanted by a host of clubs across Europe

Wants out: Llorente is hoping to quit Bilbao

Wants out: Llorente is hoping to quit Bilbao

Athletic are hoping Llorente can still have an impact on the field before he leaves as Marcelo Bielsa's side attempt to recover from a poor start to the season.

Urrutia told reporters today: 'I've a feeling these decisions will not please everyone, but I think they are the most beneficial for Athletic.

'We've taken our decision and at the moment we're sticking to it. He's an important player, he's shown that, and the team is more competitive with him. We hope that he continues to score important goals from now until the end of the season.'

Llorente was the joint-leading Spanish goalscorer in La Liga last season with 17 goals but has only played a bit-part role this term following his decision to leave the Basque outfit.

Athletic won just two of their opening nine Primera Division matches and were knocked out of the Europa League – a competition they finished runners-up in last season – at the group stage.

However, they have climbed up to 12th in the standings following back-to-back wins over Celta Vigo and Real Mallorca in the last fortnight.

Xavi on the verge of new Barcelona contract to see out his career at Nou Camp

Barca for life! Xavi on the verge of new contract to see out his career at the Nou Camp

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UPDATED:

01:27 GMT, 14 December 2012

Barcelona midfielder Xavi is close to an agreement on a new contract that will mean he ends his playing career at the La Liga club he joined more than 20 years ago, the Spain international said on Thursday.

Xavi, who will be 33 at the end of next month, enrolled in Barca's youth academy in 1991 at the age of 11 and made his debut for the first team in a Spanish Super Cup match against Real Mallorca in 1998.

Considered one of the finest playmakers of his generation, he has helped the club win 20 trophies, including three Champions League crowns and six La Liga titles.

Here for good: Xavi will end his career at Barcelona having started there when he was 11

Here for good: Xavi will end his career at Barcelona having started there when he was 11

Xavi was instrumental in Spain's World Cup 2010 and Euro 2008 and 2012 triumphs

Xavi was instrumental in Spain's World Cup 2010 and Euro 2008 and 2012 triumphs

He has also been at the heart of Spain's success in recent years, playing a key role in their triumphs at Euro 2008 and 2012 and the 2010 World Cup.

'The two sides didn't take long to reach an agreement and all that remains is to sign the contract,' Xavi said at a post-training news conference when asked about the negotiations.

'My dream of seeing out my career at Barca will come true,' he added.

'I'm very happy to be able to finish here. If I can still be here at the age of 36 it will be a privilege.

'This is my lifelong club. For the moment I just want to enjoy myself until 2016.'

Xavi's current deal runs through 2016 but the final two years are contingent on the number of appearances he makes.

He has already featured in more official matches than any other Barca player, overhauling Migueli's previous club record of 549 in early 2011.

Barca also announced on Thursday they had agreed to extend Spain Under-21 winger Cristian Tello's contract until 2016.

Roberto Martinez praises Ivan Ramis after Wigan beat West Ham

Ramis on the up as Martinez praises superb Spaniard for his commanding influence at Wigan

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 October 2012

Roberto Martinez knew he had signed a gem in Ivan Ramis – after watching the defender give away a penalty and be at fault for another goal on his Wigan debut.

Ramis had a nightmare in that 2-0 defeat by Chelsea – he really was Ivan the Terrible in the first 10 minutes – but has recovered and scored a superb volley to put Wigan ahead in their 2-1 home win over West Ham on Saturday.

On target: Ivan Ramis openes the scoring against West Ham

On target: Ivan Ramis openes the scoring against West Ham

The 28-year-old Spanish centre half spent nine years at Mallorca and had a choice between Wigan and West Ham in the summer.

He chose the DW Stadium and Martinez is delighted he did, saying: ‘I’ve been a big admirer of Ivan for a long time. We were after him long before West Ham and that was a big factor why he decided to come here. We are really proud because you don’t get many experienced players that pick Wigan Athletic over what other clubs can offer.

‘It’s a really important signing for us. He’s been one of the best defenders in Spain for three or four years. It wasn’t a signing that was only done in the summer. It was done over two transfer windows.

Holding his own: Ramis has got to grips with the physical nature of the English game

Holding his own: Ramis has got to grips with the physical nature of the English game

‘We knew we couldn’t match the valuation. But the chairman found money we didn’ t have. It was a worry that we’d lose him but the chairman knew how much we wanted the player and being a football man, it makes a big difference. The chairman went over to Mallorca and he was very influential.

‘The first 10 minutes of Ivan’s debut were a little bit of a shock. Like any foreign player coming into the Premier League, it is a shock physically. But I was impressed by the way he reacted. Mentally, he was so strong. At that moment, I knew he was ready to fight.’

James McArthur scored Wigan’s second goal to secure their first home win of the season. Him, James McCarthy and Shaun Maloney dominated the midfield and ran rings round their lumbering West Ham counterparts.

Much more like this and there will not be the annual relegation battle. That would suit McArthur, who said: ‘We need to try and push up the table. Obviously everyone thinks we're going to be down there and we want to prove those people wrong.

‘We want to win as many games as possible – and fast too – to get ourselves away from trouble.'

Rafael Nadal out of ATP Tour Finals in London

Season over for Nadal as crocked ace withdraws from ATP Tour Finals in London

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UPDATED:

15:46 GMT, 25 October 2012

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Paris Masters and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London because of his left knee problem.

The announcement is not a surprise, with the world No 4 having not played since his shock second-round loss to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.

Nadal missed the Olympics and the US Open after revealing he had a partial tear in his patella tendon, and it was always unlikely he would return during the indoor hard-court season, his least favourite surface.

Out: Nadal won't play again this season

Out: Nadal won't play again this season

The 26-year-old said: 'It's disappointing for me to miss the last two tournaments of the season in Paris and London, but it doesn't come as a surprise.

'I will hopefully resume my tennis practice soon since I am making good progress with my recovery from injury.

'I am not ready to compete in time for these events so I will continue my recovery in Mallorca and work hard to be back as soon as possible.'

Nadal's absence is nevertheless a blow to the World Tour Finals, which begin at London's O2 Arena in a week and a half's time and feature the best eight players of the season.

Getting shirty: The Spaniard hasn't played since losing at Wilmbledon

Getting shirty: The Spaniard hasn't played since losing at Wilmbledon

The player ninth in the list when qualification ends following next week's tournament in Paris will now take Nadal's place, with Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic currently occupying that spot.

Brad Drewett, ATP executive chairman and president, said on www.atpworldtour.com: 'We wish Rafa all the best as he continues his rehabilitation from injury.

'Rafa is an incredible champion and it goes without saying that he has been missed on the ATP World Tour over the past few months. We look forward to welcoming him back on the tour very soon.'

Nadal is now likely to return to action at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi at the end of December as part of his preparations for the Australian Open. end

Steven Taylor looking to make Newcastle return after achillies injury

He clattered me and I knew my pain was over, says returning Taylor

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UPDATED:

21:53 GMT, 17 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Steven Taylor is possibly the first player to welcome a nasty, late rake down his calf.

It happened last month in a friendly against Den Haag, the second game on his comeback trail from an achilles injury that could lead to a Barclays Premier League return against Tottenham at home.

‘This lad came round the corner,’ says Taylor. ‘He really caught me, right down the bottom of my leg.’ The Newcastle defender proudly points to the inch-wide pink scar from his operation and a barely visible stud mark at the base of his tanned leg.

Fit again: Steven Taylor's ruptured achilles kept him out for seven months

Fit again: Steven Taylor's ruptured achilles kept him out for seven months

‘He stamped on me and caught my tendon. I really had no pain, nothing. That was a big moment. If it wasn’t right I was going to find out there and then.’

Taylor is relaxed and happy. Indeed, he says he has never been happier.
‘I have got my love for football back again,’ says the Newcastle defender who, seven months ago, thought his career was over.

‘My dad said it’s probably the happiest he has seen me. When you first get in the first team you are like an excited little fan and that is me again. I have just got a bit bigger and greyer.I have the same feelings I had when Bobby Robson turned to me against Real Mallorca six years ago and said, “You’re going on”. I am excited again.’

Taylor will never forget the moment he thought he had played his last game. It was October, the stadium was still called St James’ Park, Chelsea were the visitors.

Happier days: Taylor scoring against Arsenal

Happier days: Taylor scoring against Arsenal

‘I was tracking Fernando Torres, jockeying sideways and I felt a bang,’ he said. ‘It was like someone had just kicked me in the calf but there was no-one near me.

‘My studs got lost in the turf. My foot went floppy. There was no pain at that point in my achilles, which is why I tried to walk off. I couldn’t understand it. I got in the dressing room and there was no response in my leg when the physio squeezed my calf.

‘The physio said, “You’ve ruptured your achilles’’. I’m glad he came out and told me straight to my face. That night I was in agony. The painkillers weren’t strong enough, but I couldn’t have the operation for two days. I haven’t felt any pain since then.’

It took him a week to get over the shock and deal with the prospect of months of misery and inactivity.

Pain game: Taylor watching on from the sidelines during his injury

Pain game: Taylor watching on from the sidelines during his injury

‘That first week was the hardest, just trying to get my head around it,’ he said. ‘The medical team kept trying to get into my head saying, “You’ll get through it”.

‘I had to live with my mum and dad at first because I was trying to get round on crutches but I moved out after a week or two. I’m the type who doesn’t like things being done for them.

‘I had to inject myself every morning so I didn’t get a blood clot and that gave me the shakes every time I did it. I felt useless and a bit sorry for myself, which is the worst thing.’

It took four-and-a-half months before he lost the limp and felt the hard work was starting to pay off.

He says: ‘I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but it took that long to start feeling half-decent about myself again.

‘I feel sorry for the medical staff because I was always nagging at them, pushing myself. It must have been like having a nagging wife. Most days they got me in at 7.30 in the morning and I didn’t leave until 8pm.

‘They were long days putting my body through pain and testing myself and how hard I could train, with boxercise, rowing machines, anti-gravity treadmills, gym sessions, ice baths, all crammed in together. You have to go through the pain barrier to be ready for games.

‘For four-and-a-half months it was agony and then there was a bit of light coming in. Six months into the injury, I was thinking, “I’ll be back now”.’

Now he can concentrate on helping Newcastle better last season’s fifth-place finish.

He added: ‘I have seen players just get forgotten about, but I was always in among the lads. They are my team mates, I am an old boy and I wanted to be with them.

‘At team meetings we have said we want to win as many games as possible and we won’t look too far ahead. We had a great year but that is what we did, taking it game by game. The fans can be in dreamland but we have to keep our feet on the ground.’

And Taylor is relieved he can again plant his feet firmly in the turf.

Celtic want Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic

Celtic keen on Birmingham striker Zigic but wages could prove stumbling block

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 16 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Celtic have asked about Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic on loan but can't cover his wages.

Real Mallorca are still keen to sign the giant frontman who cost 6million from Valencia.

Zigic remains on a reported 60,000-a-week deal at the Championship club.

Wanted: Nikola Zigic is a target for Scottish champions Celtic

Wanted: Nikola Zigic is a target for Scottish champions Celtic

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Football League, Reading are to sign goalkeeper Stuart
Taylor. while Doncaster want Hull midfielder Paul McKenna, 34.

Preston winger
Danny Mayor, 21, is expected to join Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield want Derby striker Nathan Tyson, 30, as they face losing Jordan Rhodes.

Peterborough are giving a trial to
Waterford striker Sean Maguire. while Bristol City have signed former Celtic
defender Mark Wilson, 28 and Coventry have signed Motherwell's Steve
Jennings.

Roberto Martinez tells Victor Moses he will have to stay at Wigan unless Chelsea meet asking price

Martinez tells Moses he will have to stay at Wigan unless Chelsea meet asking price

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 7 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Wigan manager Roberto
Martinez has told Victor Moses his hands are tied in helping the forward
move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea
have already failed with three offers to sign the Nigeria international
— the highest being a 6.5million bid — but Sportsmail revealed last
week how they were preparing a final, 7.5million deal.

In demand: Victor Moses (second left) in pre-season action against Real Mallorca

In demand: Victor Moses (second left) in pre-season action against Real Mallorca

Moses has told Martinez he wants to quit the DW Stadium for a return to London.

But
while the Spanish manager is sympathetic, Martinez has explained to
the 21-year-old that he will have to stay put until owner Dave Whelan
agrees a fee.

Wigan rate the player at 10m.

Moses
has a year left on his Wigan contract, but the club will be due
compensation if he leaves on a free transfer next summer because he is
under 24.

Ivan Ramis opts to join Wigan over West Ham

Martinez swings it as fellow Spaniard Ramis chooses Wigan over West Ham

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UPDATED:

18:12 GMT, 2 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Wigan have completed the signing of Ivan Ramis on a three-year contract from Real Mallorca for an undisclosed fee.

The 27-year-old defender looked set to join West Ham after the La Liga side posted an article on their website saying they had accepted an offer from the Hammers and the player was heading to London for a medical.

However Ramis elected to join Wigan and chairman Dave Whelan believes his manager Roberto Martinez should be the one credited with persuading the centre-half to move to the north west.

Wigan-bound: Ramis

Wigan-bound: Ramis

'It's down to the influence of Roberto,' he told ESPN.

'The player doesn't speak English and didn't want to go to West Ham, who had already agreed a deal.

'But Roberto asked me to go out to
Mallorca where I met their chairman and with the club in receivership,
they accepted my offer and then I went to see the player.'

Ramis has made 103 league appearances
for Mallorca since his debut in 2004 and is Martinez's second summer
signing after the Latics brought in Fraser Fyvie.