We are slowly but surely getting to the business end of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009. The line-ups for the semi-finals are now set in stone, with the big guns of Barcelona and Estudiantes ready to prove their worth against Atlante and Pohang Steelers respectively.
The Blaugrana, who are gunning for an incredible sixth trophy this calendar year, have what can only be described as a star-studded squad. Though Lionel Messi is currently on the sidelines due to an ankle injury, he has a chance of being available for the UEFA Champions League winners' second and final match of the tournament.
Even without the Argentinian wizard, the Catalans are still favourites to lift the trophy here in Abu Dhabi, given that they boast the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And who would bet against one of coach Pep Guardiola's men being awarded the adidas Golden Ball for the tournament's best player?
Their South American counterparts also have a few stars of their own, not least among them Juan Sebastian Veron. The Estudiantes captain may he gettting on, but he is the one pulling the strings in midfield for the Copa Libertadores holders.
Mauro Boselli has also played an integral role in the Argentinian team's success. The 24-year-old striker was top scorer in the Libertadores and will be looking to add a few more to his tally here in UAE.
South Americans abound at this tournament, and not just at the Spanish-speaking clubs. Denilson was the man who propelled Pohang Steelers into the last four thanks to two crucial goals in the quarter-final, and the Brazilian may well end up taking the main individual award if he can steer the winners of the AFC Champions League to further glory.
The same applies to CONCACAF champions Atlante. The Mexicans put in a good performance against Auckland City, with Santiago Solari dictating the midfield, Christian Bermudez notching one of the goals and putting his speed and skills to good use, while Daniel Arreola was always on hand to convert defence into attack. Maybe you feel another player will finish the tournament as its stand-out performer.
So, it's over to you: Who will be UAE 2009's best player? Simply click 'Add your comment' to make your opinion known, remembering to keep your posts clean, respectful, on-topic and in English.