Returning Christian fishing for goals
Days before their first match, Sao Paulo striker Christian is managing to remain calm as the excitement builds up all around him. The Brazilian side, twice winners of the Toyota Cup in 1992 and 1993, are, along with Liverpool, favourites for the title in the six-team competition.
"I'm still coping well with the tension," he says while preparing to watch the match between Al Ahly and Al Ittihad that will decide who they will face in the semi-finals on Wednesday. "Obviously the responsibility is weighing a little heavily on our shoulders. Despite all our experience, we're feeling the pressure a bit."
The player is a fan of the new competition, now under FIFA's umbrella: "With six teams competing, it's better as every team has a chance of lifting the trophy."
Before joining Sao Paulo in August 2005, the 30-year-old striker, who hails from Rio Grande do Sul, had spent the best part of eight months with the Japanese club Omyia Ardija.
"Everyone made me feel very welcome out in Japan and that's very important when you leave your country to play in a foreign land," he adds. "You find yourself in a completely different environment, but I enjoyed my time there. I managed to score important goals in the games I played."
Christian also feels that having played, albeit briefly, in the country where the FIFA Club World Championship is to be staged, is a source of comfort for him as his club prepare to lift the trophy for the third time. "I certainly gained a few fans during my time there."
Before moving to Japan, Christian played for some of the world's leading clubs, including Internacional, Paris Saint Germain, Bordeaux, Palmeiras and Galatasaray, and also represented the Brazilian national side, helping them to victory in the Copa America in 1999 and to the runners-up spot in the FIFA Confederations Cup 1999.
The move from Omyia Ardija to Sao Paulo meant a reunion of kind for Christian. During Brazil's successful 1999 Copa America campaign, he roomed with Amoroso and he has worked twice previously with coach Paulo Autuori, firstly as a 16-year-old with Marítimo in Portugal and later with Internacional.
"Autuori is a great coach. I have had the privilege of working with him before and he is one of the best, both as a coach and as a person," he states. "As for Amoroso, I think we will help to bring out the best in each other as our personalities complement one another."
And Christian seems to be getting on pretty well with the rest of the team. He has notched eight goals in the Brazilian Championship since August. "I'm a goalscorer. My job is to react in the area," he says. "Sao Paulo have a very strong squad and I'm very confident of winning more things here."