The squad lists of the clubs taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013, which begins on 11 December, were announced on Thursday. In total 160 players will be in action in Agadir and Marrakech, where the seven contenders will be vying to succeed 2012 champions Corinthians.
A total of 31 nationalities are represented in that player pool, adding an even more global dimension to the competition. While Atletico Mineiro’s squad is made up entirely of Brazilians and Egypt’s Al Ahly SC have only one foreign player in their ranks, Mauritanian forward Dominique Da Sylva, FC Bayern Munchen will be pitching up in Morocco with a team featuring players from 11 countries, two more than Auckland City FC.
Appearing in the competition for the third time in a row courtesy of their third consecutive CONCACAF Champions League win, CF Monterrey have a line-up full of familiar faces, none more familiar than their Argentinian captain Jose Maria Basanta and his compatriot Cesar Delgado, both of whom were on Club World Cup duty for the Mexican side in 2011 and 2012.
In contrast, Morocco 2013 will be a whole new experience for China’s Guangzhou Evergrande FC, who are making their debut on the global stage, as are Morocco’s Raja Casablanca, with the difference that they will be performing on home soil in front of a supportive crowd.
The passionate Moroccan fans will also be delighted to see some of the world’s greatest players on show. Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery will all be turning out for Bayern, while the Red Devils of Cairo are fielding their posse of internationals, among them Emad Meteab, Wael Gomaa, Walid Soliman and the legendary Mohamed Aboutrika, who recently announced his retirement but will be present for the Club World Cup.
Meanwhile, Atletico will have their Brazil players Jo, Diego Tardelli, Josue and Rever on show, and Monterrey will pitch up with Chilean goal machine Humberto Suazo and the experienced Ricardo Osorio, who played for Mexico at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.
Three of the players gracing Morocco 2013 have had the honour of lifting the biggest prize in football: the FIFA World Cup Trophy. Bayern’s Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez was on the winning side at South Africa 2010, while Ronaldinho and Gilberto Silva were victorious with Brazil at Korea/Japan 2002. In between times came Italy’s fourth world title in 2006, a triumph masterminded by one Marcello Lippi, now in charge of Guangzhou.
With a cast like that, it promises to be quite a show.