Duo to stay with Mallorca

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Mallorca have confirmed that Japanese star Yoshito Okubo will be staying at the club next season, and are close to agreeing a deal to extend Mark Iuliano's stay.

Like Iuliano, Okubo joined The Islanders in the January transfer window and played a big part in the club's remarkable escape from relegation in the second half of the season.

The Japanese striker managed three goals in his seven starts last term and became a firm fans' favourite at the Son Moix.

Mallorca have now struck a deal with the player's club, Cerezo Osaka, that will see him stay on loan for a further season, and Okubo is delighted to be remaining in La Liga.

"I am happy in Spain and my objective for next season is to work hard because I want to return to the Japan team," he stated.

"2006 is World Cup year and I want to be in Germany."

Meanwhile, Iuliano has confirmed he is also likely to stay with the Balearic outfit following their successful battle against relegation.

The experienced defender joined from Juventus last January and endured a difficult start to his career in Spain, being sent off twice in three games.

However, he established himself as a regular under Hector Cuper and has expressed his desire to stay, despite interest from Siena back in his native Italy.

"I am sure I will be staying in Spain next season," he declared.

"I am very happy in Spain and it is practically assured I will continue at Mallorca."