Monterrey defender Ricardo Osorio has admitted Barcelona are the favourites to win the forthcoming FIFA Club World Cup, but believes Los Rayados can prove a match for anyone in Japan.
And the 31-year-old, capped 81 times by Mexico since 2003, has attributed his confidence to the quality of his club’s foreign employees.
Osorio reserved his highest praise for striker Humberto Suazo, whom he considers Chile’s best player despite competition from the likes of Sevilla’s Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal of Juventus and Barça's Alexis Sanchez. “For me we have the best player from Chile in Humberto,” said the former Stuttgart man.
Osorio went on to praise a trio of Argentinians, namely centre-back Jose Basanta, 27, 25-year-old playmaker Nery Cardoso, who played for Boca Juniors in their 4-2 defeat by AC Milan in the Japan 2007 final, and 30-year-old former Lyon attacker Cesar Delgado.
He continued: “Basanta has come on tremendously, Neri has won 15 titles in his short career, is a very successful player, and Chelito (Delgado) has also come on a lot and was a champion in France.
“Every player has his own worth, including [Sergio] Santana, who has won five championships here in Mexican football. So I think we have a good combination, as good as when you play with a national team.”
The still-to-be-determined J.League winners face Auckland City for the right to take on Monterrey in the quarter-finals in Toyota on 11 December, with the victors of that tie moving on to face Santos in the last four. Osorio is pleased the path of Víctor Manuel Vucetich’s team to the final is not roadblocked by a Barcelona hurdle.
“The team with the edge right now is Barcelona, because they have the best players in the world,” he said. “We have some good players from other countries, but they have the best in the world – that’s the difference. But against the rest we can achieve something important.”