Ronaldinho looking for title in Japan
The December 10-17, 2006 club World cup features the top clubs from soccer's six confederations.india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 14:42 IST
Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho will be the main attraction when European champion Barcelona takes on its fellow continental titleholders at the Club World Cup.
The December 10-17, 2006 tournament features the top club teams from soccer's six confederations.
"I'd love to win the Club World Cup," Ronaldinho told the FIFA.com Web site. "This year, I wanted to win the (Spanish) league, the Champions League, the World Cup (in Germany), and the Club World Cup. Unfortunately it proved beyond us in Germany, but that makes me even more determined not to miss out in this tournament."
European champion Barcelona will be joined by South American champion Internacional of Brazil, Mexico's Club America representing North and Central America's CONCACAF, African champions Al Ahly of Egypt, Asian champion Chonbuk of South Korea and New Zealand's Auckland City FC, the Oceania champion.
Ronaldinho, winner of the last two FIFA player of the year awards, has had a stellar year for Barcelona, leading the Spanish side to the Champions League title. At the World Cup, Brazil was eliminated in the quarterfinals by France.
Ronaldinho said a finals showdown with his former Brazilian archrivals Internacional would be a difficult encounter. "It would be a very tough game, but one we'd do our very best to win," said Ronaldinho. "I'm sure that their fans would whistle at me and put pressure on me."
Barcelona will be without the services of Argentine forward Lionel Messi, who injured his foot in a match against Spanish team Real Zaragoza in November and will be sidelined for up to three months.
Striker Samuel Eto'o is also injured and will not play in the tournament. Auckland City opens the tournament on December 10, 2006 against Al Ahly, while Barcelona plays its first in the semifinals on December 14, 2006 against the winner of the first-round match between Chonbuk Motors and Club America.
Some 26 teams have won the Club World Cup, which began in 1960 as the Intercontinental Cup. The tournament was known as the Toyota Cup from 1980 to 2004 when it featured the top club teams from South America and Europe before it became the expanded Club World Cup in 2005.
Last year, South American champion Sao Paulo took the title after defeating European heavyweight Liverpool by 1-0 at International Stadium Yokohama.
South Korean side Chonbuk Motors advanced to the tournament with a 3-2 aggregate win over Al Karama of Syria in the 2006 Asian Champions League.