Mallorca and Manzano renew rocky union for third time

Veteran coach returns to club he sued over contract dispute after last stint

Gregorio Manzano is presented as Mallorca's new coach on Tuesday.
Gregorio Manzano is presented as Mallorca's new coach on Tuesday.MIQUEL BORRAS (DIARIO AS)

Mallorca CF on Tuesday welcomed Gregorio Manzano back to the club for a third time after parting company with Joaquín Caparrós a day earlier, the veteran Sevillan coach's first managerial bullet in Primera División.

The choice of Manzano as his replacement is a risky one. Although in 2003 during his first stint at the club he delivered Mallorca's only King's Cup triumph to date with a team containing Samuel Eto'o and Rafael Nadal's uncle, Miguel Ángel Nadal, his second, between 2006 and 2010, ended on a sour note: Manzano filed a lawsuit against the board for non-payment of a million euros of his contract.

That was the first of a series of legal spats between Manzano and the club, then chaired by Mateu Alemany, which claimed contract falsification after the technician refused to lower his financial demands when the entity was applying for voluntary administration. At his presentation, Manzano said that his was not a fight with the club but with the previous owner. Still, a section of the Mallorca support holds him in open contempt for taking the matter to court at a time when Mallorca's finances meant that dissolution was more than a distant threat.

The current owner, Serra Ferrer, has faced criticism for delaying in sacking Caparrós after a run of six points in 15 games. With Mallorca second from bottom, Manzano faces a tough challenge on and off the field. "The fans are knowledgeable and the sovereign authority. They know what's at stake," said Manzano.

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