Daniel Sturridge has been given a lifeline by Real Mallorca – can he REALLY get back to his best? 


It’s been 17 months since Daniel Sturridge last took part in a competitive football match but there could be light at the end of the tunnel for the ex-Liverpool striker. 

Sturridge has been offered a trial with LaLiga club Real Mallorca, 16 months after he was handed a four-month ban from all football related activities for breaching betting rules.

The 31-year-old was banned for six weeks in July 2019 for providing his family with inside betting information on his own transfer negotiations. But following a successful appeal by the FA, his ban was increased in March 2020. 

Daniel Sturridge will trial with LaLiga club Real Mallorca after 17 months on the sidelines

He left Turkish club Trabzonspor following the verdict and has been without a club since, despite links with a move to David Beckham’s MLS club Inter Miami last summer.

The ban was even more frustrating for Sturridge, given his career in Turkey had got off to a good start.

He scored seven goals in 11 games and also added four assists after joining them on a three-year contract in August 2019.

But it’s clear Sturridge is more determined than ever to get back to the type of form that saw him named in the Premier League Team of the Season in 2013-2014. 

The forward has spent the last year-and-a-half working on his fitness, in the gym and on the training pitch, at his home in Los Angeles.

His Instagram page is full of workout videos and training drills and in an interview with the High Performance Podcast, Sturridge insisted he is fitter than ever.

‘Moving forward for me now I am driven. I know I have it. I know I am me. I am so confident. It is hard to explain it. I just feel it and people will see it,’ he said. 

‘I am training so hard now my playing weight is back where it was eight years ago. I am obsessed by the fact that I know I want to be what I was before and better that. I will be better than that. I am wiser now. I am older now.

The striker has been working hard on the training pitch

Sturridge insists he is fitter than ever despite not playing since February 2020

The striker has been working hard on the training pitch in order to get back to full fitness 

Sturridge left Turkish club Trabzonspor in March 2020 after being given a four-month ban for breaching FA betting rules

Sturridge left Turkish club Trabzonspor in March 2020 after being given a four-month ban for breaching FA betting rules

‘I didn’t think I could get to that weight again. I didn’t think it was possible. I am doing things I didn’t think were possible.

‘I’m proud of myself because I’m holding myself accountable, saying, you know what bro, you have got to go to bed now, or you have to do this, or you that’s not for you, or don’t do that, or I am going to link my friends, do I really need to link my friends if I have got to be up at eight tomorrow? No, I’m not going to link them.’  

Sturridge’s last competitive game on February 22, 2020, saw him play 55 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Besiktas. 

Getting fit is one thing, but getting match fit will be a bigger hurdle. Only players who suffer serious injuries tend to spend as long out of the game as Sturridge has. 

Diego Maradona was handed a 15-month ban from football in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine.

He returned to football but was banned again in 1994 after failing a drugs test at the World Cup in the United States.

Rio Ferdinand was suspended for eight months after missing a drugs test in 2003, which meant he was unable to take part in Euro 2004.

The defender came back stronger than ever and went on to feature in the PFA Team of the Year in four of the following five years.

Eric Cantona also spent eight months out of the game when he was banned for his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter in 1995.

He is determined to get back to the form he showed for Liverpool in the 2013-2014 season

He is determined to get back to the form he showed for Liverpool in the 2013-2014 season

The forward came back to help United win back-to-back Premier League titles in 1996 and 1997 before retiring. 

Sturridge will be hoping he can get back to his best in a similar fashion with Real Mallorca, following their promotion back to the top flight of Spanish football.

While the striker has been putting in the hard yards on the pitch, he’s also had several things to keep him occupied during his spell out of the game. 

He became a father when his partner gave birth to a baby girl in October. He also has several business ventures to keep him occupied. 

The striker has continued managing his record label, Dudley Road Records, which he established in the UK back in 2017.  

Sturridge also has his ‘Sturr Crazy’ sauce business, which he launched with his mother in 2016. The sauces are inspired by his Jamaican heritage and ‘bring a fresh idea to traditional BBQ sauces’.

The striker has continued managing his record label, Dudley Road Records, which he established in the UK back in 2017

The striker has continued managing his record label, Dudley Road Records, which he established in the UK back in 2017

The forward says he’s more relaxed about his approach to football after spending time away from the game. 

‘I’ve had this year off. So, I’ve been able to analyse. I’ve been able to look back,’ he continued during his interview with the High Performance Podcast. 

‘I’ve been able to watch games, feel things that I’ve not felt when I’m playing because when you’re playing, I was consumed by football. Everything. Lived it, breathed it. Everything,

‘Everything was centred around football. All my conversations that I had with people. My family, because they’re a footballing family, everyone is obsessed with football. We’d be meeting up for a domino night and we’re talking about footy.

‘Sometimes, it’s like the saying goes: put the ball away. Yes, you can savour things but sometimes put the ball away and let your mind just, you know, relax.

‘That obsession and that relentlessness, I have that and I know that when I’m back playing, it’s going to come back.

Sturridge says he's more relaxed about his approach to football after spending time away

Sturridge says he’s more relaxed about his approach to football after spending time away

‘But because I’ve had this year off, now I know that I can manage my mindset better in that: “you know what? I’ve scored. Savour the moment today. Enjoy the moment today and then we’ll continue going this week”‘. 

Mallorca play Ibiza in a pre-season on friendly on Saturday, which Sturridge could feature in if he impresses in training. They have further pre-season games against Brest and Cagliari scheduled for August 1 and 7.

Their season kicks off on August 14 and, if he can return to the type of form he was beginning to show for Trabzonspor, he could be a valuable addition for the Spanish side.