When it comes to which sports are the most popular ones in Mallorca, there is no doubt about soccer being anything except number one. Spain is football-mad. Visit Spain, and you can feel the passion: football (or soccer) is the nation’s most popular sport.
Grown men showing their ‘keepy-uppy’ skills on the beach, kids playing in the street, bars crowded with fans watching it on TV, it seems to be everywhere. And it appears that the rest of the world is mad over Spanish football too. So what is this fascination with Spanish football? The answer could be in just two words: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
‘El Clásico’ – the famous match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona – is watched avidly worldwide simply because of the sheer passion and quality of the football. FC Barcelona has created an excellent style of possession football called tika-taka. Here the players keep possession for much of the game, making it difficult for the opposition to get the ball.
The players move the ball to each other with short, quick passes. By the time the other team has come to terms with this great style of play, one of the Barcelona players has delivered the ‘killer pass,’ leading to a goal.
The rivalry between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is probably the fiercest in the whole world. And it’s about more than just football. Barcelona represents Catalunya which has always regarded itself as being ‘separate’ from the rest of Spain.
Both teams have a seemingly endless pot of money to buy the best players in the world; they are known for some of the most expensive transfers in football history. No wonder that people worldwide make the pilgrimage to Spain purely to visit the FC Barcelona Football Museum at the Neu Camp or the Real Madrid Trophy Room at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Now that’s real passion!
Mallorca is home to many Rugby clubs, the Federation of Balearic Rugby oversees them. The sport has been growing in popularity on the island in recent years; we have seen an increase in clubs and competitions. With the beautiful climate and sporting heritage coupled with the range of facilities available, whether playing or spectating, Mallorca is an ideal location to enjoy the game.
With 97 indoor and outdoor Basketball courts, you can always find somewhere close by for a game. Basketball is one of the most popular sports on the island, and Mallorca has both Male and Female teams that compete in the Basketball First Division. Palma has also hosted some European Basketball tournaments, helping to increase its popularity on the island and raise awareness about the facilities available.
“Sports do not build character, they reveal it”
To start with, let’s get this straight: it is Pádel and hasn’t been misspelled! But while fútbol and football are the same sport, Pádel and Paddle Tennis are not. Although they undeniably share the same origin, each has developed its own rules. Paddle tennis was first played nearly 100 years ago, some say on ocean liners, to relieve the tedium of transatlantic crossings, but it is more generally believed to be the creation of a New York clergyman, Frank P. Beal.
Millions of people now play Pádel in Spain, more than in any other single country. There are currently around 50 clubs in Mallorca, mainly in the Bay of Palma area, and plenty of hotels offer facilities. It is the sport of the moment on the island, and now, at last, it appears to be catching on in other European countries.
Pádel, on the other hand, evolved in Mexico toward the end of the sixties, as the brainchild of Enrique Corcuera, after discovering he did not have enough space in his garden for a full-sized tennis court. He duly introduced his friend, the Marbella-based playboy Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe, to the game. The sport’s popularity gradually spread from the Costa del Sol to the entire Spanish Mediterranean coast, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Sports not only build better athletes, but also better people”
So what is the secret of Pádel’s success? Firstly, it is effortless to learn and less physically demanding than either tennis or squash; it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and is altogether a very “social” game. But above all, it is fun!
So, if you’re not already hooked, why not give it a try?