Real Mallorca have signed midfielder Ki Sung-yueng on a free transfer until the end of the season.

The 31-year-old moves to LaLiga after having had his contract terminated at Newcastle United by mutual consent last month.

The South Korea international was confirmed as a new Mallorca player on Tuesday and could make his debut in Sunday's clash with Getafe.

"It's a great honour to play for Mallorca. For me, it's a great honour to play in Spain because when I was younger I dreamt of playing in Spain so hopefully I’m looking forward to playing against the best players. Dreams do come true," he told the club's website.

"I think now fans from Korea are going to try and be a bit more interested because I play for the team. 

"Take [Takefusa] Kubo is also a very talented player and those from Japan are watching games. Hopefully we will be able to contribute to the team and a lot of fans from the area will support us."

Mallorca are 18th in the table and two points from safety after 25 matches, although four points from their past two games against Deportivo Alaves and Real Betis have given their survival hopes a boost.

Luis Suarez labelled his stunning back-heel effort for LaLiga champions Barcelona as the best goal of his career.

Suarez scored a memorable goal as Barca defeated Real Mallorca 5-2 at Camp Nou on Saturday to regain top spot in LaLiga.

While Lionel Messi bagged a record-breaking hat-trick, Suarez capped a wonderful team move by back-heeling past Mallorca goalkeeper Manolo Reina prior to half-time.

"It's the best goal of my career," Suarez, who has now scored against all 28 teams he has faced in LaLiga, said of the 43rd-minute goal.

"I knew that it was a tight angle and the last option I had was to hit it with my heel. I was looking to bounce it because I had very little chance against the goalkeeper.

"[Head coach Ernesto] Valverde tells me that sometimes I miss the easiest ones and score the most difficult ones."

Barca produced an impressive performance at home to Mallorca as they moved ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference after their rivals won earlier in the day.

"This shows the confidence we're gaining as the matches go by," Suarez said. "We've been looking for our team-mates more and it was a great match today."

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring in the seventh minute as the former Atletico Madrid star netted his first LaLiga goal since October 18.

"He has had to take up a new position in attack, he must find his space," Suarez of Griezmann. "I congratulate him on settling in because it's not easy."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Lionel Messi's record-breaking hat-trick was a "good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or".

After claiming his sixth Ballon d'Or earlier in the week, Messi's treble led LaLiga champions Barca to a 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Messi's Ballon d'Or triumph on Monday saw him move clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barca captain broke the former Real Madrid superstar's record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

After Messi's 35th league treble, Barca boss Valverde hailed the 32-year-old star post-game at Camp Nou.

"Unbelievable," Valverde told reporters after Barca regained top spot ahead of rivals Real Madrid.

"It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or."

While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning display, Barca team-mate Luis Suarez scored a stunning back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca.

On Suarez's 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: "The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate.

"It surprised me, but it was an extraordinary goal. I told him that there had been a few easier chances and this one, which was improbable, went in."

Lionel Messi has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history after scoring another treble in Barcelona's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

In the week he moved above rival Ronaldo with a sixth Ballon d'Or success, Messi showed why he was voted the world's best player with his impressive display at Camp Nou.

The 32-year-old scored two long-range goals in the first half and added a third seven minutes from time to make it 35 career hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight.

That is one more than Ronaldo, who spent nine years with Real Madrid before joining Serie A giants Juventus in 2018.

Messi's first strike also saw him become the only player to net 10 or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons across Europe's top-five leagues.

Victory moved Barca back to the top of the table, with the champions above Madrid on goal difference ahead of the first Clasico of the season later this month.

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in the week he was crowned the world's best player as Barcelona eased to a 5-2 home win over Real Mallorca and reclaimed top spot in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann gave Barca a seventh-minute lead and Messi then took over with a couple of goals, either side of Ante Budimir's strike against the run of play.

On a day when the home side's front three clicked into gear, Luis Suarez added a fourth before the end of the first half with a sublime back-heel to round off a fluid passing move.

Budimir pulled another back for Mallorca 26 minutes from time, but Messi rounded off his hat-trick late on as Barca maintained their good form and overtook Real Madrid at the summit.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen claimed a second assist of the season with a quick goal-kick that Griezmann collected and lifted over Manolo Reina after racing through on goal.

Reina produced an impressive save to keep out the returning Sergio Busquets' header, but Messi found a way past the visiting keeper 95 seconds later with a 25-yard curler.

Mallorca, now winless in seven away league outings this season, gave themselves hope when Budimir's shot deflected off Clement Lenglet and looped over Ter Stegen.

But Messi took matters into his own hands with another trademark goal from range, before Suarez capped a fine piece of team play by back-heeling in from eight yards.

Reina frustrated Ernesto Valverde's men with a string of saves and Budimir then headed in from close range to once again give Mallorca a foothold on the game.

Barca made certain of a sixth win in a row in all competitions thanks to Messi's third of the match late on, the forward picking out the roof of the net after being teed up by Suarez to move onto 35 LaLiga hat-tricks in his career – one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi became the only player to score 10 or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons in Europe's top-five leagues with a first-half double against Real Mallorca.

The first of Messi's strikes in Saturday's LaLiga clash, a 25-yard effort that curled away from Manolo Reina, took him into double figures for the league campaign.

The Argentina international, who landed a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, doubled his tally before the interval with another goal from range to make it 11 in 10 league appearances this term.

Messi's highest-scoring league season for Barca came in 2011-12 when he reached 50 goals in 37 appearances.

Ernesto Valverde is not concerned about Lionel Messi retiring anytime soon after the Barcelona star suggested he was beginning to think about bringing his playing days to a close when he received a record sixth Ballon d'Or.

Messi, 32, overtook long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or stakes on Monday when he beat the Portugal forward and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to the individual gong, despite the latter being many people's favourite.

During Messi's acceptance speech, he remarked that he is "aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching".

Barca team-mate Luis Suarez insisted Messi's comments had been misinterpreted by many, adamant the Argentina great will "continue for a long while yet".

And Valverde says he sees Messi's state of mind as entirely normal, convinced his comments have been blown out of proportion.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Real Mallorca, Valverde said: "It seems natural [to think about retirement]. It seems normal.

"Leo is 32 years old and, although I don't think he is thinking about retirement, it is something that is there [in the future].

"When a player goes over 30 [years old], he always sees the end closer than when he starts, but come on, I think it goes around too much.

"You have to see it naturally. It happens to everyone as the years go by. To think about it doesn't mean it's going to be in three days."

The privilege of coaching Messi is not lost on Valverde, though he expects the honour to become even more apparent in the future.

"One is aware of that, but sometimes the day-by-day does not let you enjoy it at all," Valverde said.

"I think they are things that are valued more over time. I am aware that I have the great fortune to be able to say in a time that I have trained Leo.

"In the same way that the elders talk about [Real Madrid great Alfredo] Di Stefano, we can tell those who come after we were in Messi's time and we enjoyed it, some as close as me."

Marcelo said Real Madrid's shock loss to Real Mallorca "hurts" as the LaLiga giants lost top spot to defending champions Barcelona.

Madrid crashed to their first LaLiga defeat of the season, with Zinedine Zidane's 10-man visitors succumbing to Lago Junior's early strike at Son Moix on Saturday.

Bitter rivals Barca leapfrogged Madrid into top spot thanks to their win over Eibar earlier in the day, and left-back Marcelo lamented the result away from home.

"We lost but we must keep going," Marcelo said. "It hurts to lose because we played well, but we conceded early on and then looked to make our comeback but it was not possible.

"We did not have time to think, they scored a goal and they defended and waited for the counter, that's no excuse though.

"We need to play well until the final whistle. We have won some games while lacking something. We're trying to do everything possible to win but LaLiga is tough these days."

It was not the result Zidane had in mind following the international break as Madrid looked to preserve their lead atop the table.

However, Mallorca's Lago stunned Madrid seven minutes into the match by finding the bottom-right corner.

Karim Benzema hit the crossbar before substitute Rodrygo Goes squandered a presentable chance and Madrid's hopes of a comeback were all but over when Alvaro Odriozola saw red 16 minutes from the end, with Mallorca holding firm to claim their first win over Los Blancos since 2009.

"We knew about Mallorca," Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. "The coach warned us they would come out with grit and real intensity. In the first five or 10 minutes, we were caught short. 

"We had chances but lacked that final touch. The goal scorer is right footed and he sent it in at the far post. It is a shame, we should have won here."

On Odriozola's dismissal, Courtois added: "In the first yellow [he] hit the ball, the second is fair. I think that at that time with a card there should be no foul, but hey, it is the adrenaline. Playing with 10 was more complicated."

Zinedine Zidane refused to say he is "worried" after Real Madrid lost to Real Mallorca but has called on his side to show greater consistency.

Madrid's unbeaten start to the LaLiga season was ended at Son Moix on Saturday thanks to a solitary goal from Lago Junior.

Zidane's side had beaten in-form Granada 4-2 prior to the international break, but his much-changed side struggled to create goalscoring chances against Mallorca as they fell to a defeat that leaves them a point behind league leaders Barcelona.

The Madrid head coach said it is a lack of consistent performances that is holding his side back at present, even if he is not overly concerned by the result.

"The problem is that we have to show every three days that we're good," Zidane said. "That's the difficulty - we don't do it.

"I won't say that I'm worried because I don't like the word, but if we want to win something this season, we need consistency."

Madrid were without the injured Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez, with Luka Jovic failing to impress in only his third league start for the club as Zidane set his side up in a 4-4-2.

Zidane insisted the absences were no excuse for their display as he laid down a challenge to his squad players to step up a show they are worthy of a place in the team.

"The injuries aren't an excuse," Zidane said. "There are players who aren't injured; we have more good payers, too.

"When it comes to their turn, they have to show that they're at the level to be here. We can't do anything about the injured players.

"We can't be surprised by a team playing in their own stadium. We knew what would happen. They surprised us because they scored, but then they backed down and we didn't find a solution."

Luka Jovic has found it hard to kick-start his Real Madrid career and Saturday's LaLiga defeat to Real Mallorca showed how much work the striker still has to do.

The 21-year-old, a reported €50million signing from Eintracht Frankfurt in the transfer window, has struggled to make an impact under Zinedine Zidane thanks largely to the continued good form of Karim Benzema.

Speaking on Friday, Zidane insisted Jovic was "not discouraged" at having previously started just two LaLiga matches and promised the forward would be given his chance.

He duly was for the visit to Son Moix, where Madrid's unbeaten start to the league season came to an end thanks to a fine first-half goal from Lago Junior seven minutes in.

Jovic started alongside Benzema in attack as Zidane made a number of changes, most likely with one eye on next Tuesday's Champions League trip to Galatasaray, but the two-pronged attack was a blunt one.

In his 66 minutes on the pitch, Jovic failed to have a shot or a single touch in the Mallorca penalty area, created no chances for team-mates and touched the ball just 25 times overall.

He only exchanged four passes with Benzema, too, highlighting just how much of a disconnect there was between the strikers on a day where Madrid's final ball was far too often wayward.

This was Mallorca's first win over Madrid in LaLiga since May 2009 and their first at home since February 2006, while it ended Madrid's unbeaten domestic run to leave them a point behind leaders Barcelona after nine matches.

The return of injured stars such as Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale will be welcome, but finding a way to spark Jovic into life might be a more pressing concern.

Real Madrid suffered their first LaLiga defeat of the season as Lago Junior's early strike earned Real Mallorca a shock 1-0 victory at Son Moix.

With Barcelona having leapfrogged Zinedine Zidane's side to lead the way in LaLiga earlier on Saturday, Madrid needed a victory to move back to the top of the pile.

But Mallorca had other ideas and Lago stunned Madrid seven minutes by sending what was the home side's only shot on target in the entire match into the bottom-right corner.

Karim Benzema hit the crossbar before substitute Rodrygo Goes squandered a presentable chance and Madrid's hopes of a comeback were all but over when Alvaro Odriozola saw red in the 74th minute, with Mallorca holding firm to claim their first win over Los Blancos since 2009.

Madrid looked to have quickly settled into their rhythm but were behind when Lago skipped inside Odriozola and curled a superb finish beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Ante Budimir thought he doubled Mallorca's tally seven minutes later when he was set up by Lago, only for his fine strike to be disallowed for offside.

Benzema was inches away from restoring parity before the half-hour mark - his close-range half-volley bouncing back off the woodwork.

Vinicius Junior burst through Mallorca's ranks early in the second half and teed up Benzema, but the Frenchman sent his strike at Manolo Reina.

Rodrygo replaced Isco in the 66th minute and should have done better when he was fed by Benzema, his touch getting away from him and the opening evaporated.

But as the Madrid pressure was building, Odriozola received a second yellow card for a reckless lunge on Iddrisu Baba to round off a frustrating night for the visitors.

 

What does it mean? Barca back on top

Reigning LaLiga champions Barca cruised to a 3-0 victory over Eibar to put the pressure back onto Madrid.

Los Blancos failed to respond and now sit second, a point above this season's surprise package Granada and one behind Barca. The rivals were scheduled to meet in El Clasico next Saturday, but perhaps the postponement due to political tensions in Catalonia has worked in Madrid's favour.

Lago runs Madrid ragged

Mallorca's winger scored 11 goals in the Segunda Division last term but had not replicated that form this season prior to Saturday's encounter.

But he came good against the biggest opponents of all as, boosted by his goal, he was a constant tormentor of Madrid's defence. 

Jovic fails to take his chance

Luka Jovic has often been given short shrift by Zidane this term but, handed the opportunity to impress from the start, he struggled to make an impact, even when Mallorca's defending became more hap-hazard after the interval.

What's next?

Madrid will aim to bounce back against Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Mallorca's next outing is against lowly Leganes in LaLiga.

Samuel Eto'o believes he reached his peak as a player at Real Mallorca and is now looking to the club as a potential launch pad for his coaching career.

The former Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea striker retired from football in September following a glittering career spanning more than two decades.

He won the Champions League and LaLiga three times each after battling back from rejection at Real Madrid, who let a young Eto'o leave for Mallorca in 2000 following a successful loan spell.

Eto'o scored 54 goals in 128 games during his permanent spell with the Balearic Islands-based outfit, a period he regards as the best of his playing days.

"I reached my top level when at Mallorca," said the Cameroon great, who moved to Barca in 2004.

"We were a group of normal guys who had to compete against the great players at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"But we did it very well, we were proud of defending our jersey and our island.

"At Barcelona it was about opening the eyes of the world, making it known that a kid coming from where I came from, when given the same opportunities as the others, could do well.

"It was tough at Mallorca but when I got to Barcelona I saw that we could not fail, we were a group of unbelievable players and we just had to win."

Further spells in England, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Qatar expanded Eto'o's horizons and list of contacts ahead of a move into management.

The 38-year-old has stated his desire to win the Champions League as a coach, but those big ambitions could have humble beginnings back at Mallorca, where his teenage son, Etienne, is on the books.

"Now I want to prepare for new challenges," Eto'o said.

"I love football, so I would like some day to be able to coach at the highest level. It could be my Mallorca or some other big team.

"I have had the fortune to win things as a player and I would like to do that again as a coach."

Mallorca, who finished as high as third in the top flight with Eto'o leading the line, won promotion back to LaLiga last season.

Vicente Moreno's men have collected two wins from eight games to sit 18th ahead of Saturday's home game against leaders Madrid.

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