Hopes high for returning heroes
FIFA.com brings you a wide-ranging preview of this weekend's action across the world's top leagues, including high-octane encounters and possible appearances from two of the Americas' brightest stars of the past decade: Brazil's Ronaldo and Mexico's Omar Bravo.
Argentinian Clausura: Fast starters aim to stay ahead
The unheralded trio of Arsenal of Sarandi, Lanus and Gimnasia La Plata have been fastest out the blocks in this year's Clausura, with each claiming three wins from their opening four games. However, staying there for another week will be no mean feat given the opponents awaiting them this matchday.
Arsenal visit Buenos Aires giants River Plate, who will be desperate to amend for their 5-1 humbling at San Lorenzo last time out. Lanus, the 2007 Apertura winners, host Newell's Old Boys while Gimnasia, who require a solid campaign to banish the threat of relegation, travel to take on struggling Argentinos Juniors.
High stakes: The day's most high-profile clash sees Independiente welcome Boca Juniors to their temporary home at the Estadio de Huracan. El Rojo are in crisis and in dire need of all three points, while the 2008 Apertura winners will be keen for a win to kick-start their own campaign.
Player to watch: Arsenal's Luciano Leguizamon, currently atop the scorers' charts with four goals so far, had a short and unsuccessful spell at River earlier in his career. Will it be payback time this Sunday?
Brazilian state championships: Ronaldo awaits his chance
The eyes of football fans in Brazil and throughout the world will surely be turned to the 12th round of matches in the Paulista state championship. Set to go head-to-head are regional heavyweights Palmeiras and Corinthians, first and second with 28 and 25 points respectively, while no lesser global star than Ronaldo will be on the bench for O Timão. Il Fenomeno enjoyed a 20-minute cameo in Corinthians' midweek Brazilian Cup tie, and would love nothing more than a goal to underline his intention to rediscover his best form.
High stakes: Away from the Paulista clássico, Rio de Janeiro outfit Flamengo and Gremio of Porto Alegre will be aiming to get back on track in the Carioca and Gaucho state championships respectively. Fla, turfed out of the Guanabara Cup in the semis by humble Resende, will be keen to set the record straight against Cabofriense. Gremio, beaten by Internacional in the first of two finals in their state event, drew 1-1 with Ypiranga on Thursday and now face the same opposition at home just three days later.
Player to watch: Though the pre-match hype has been dominated by Ronaldo, Palmeiras striker Keirrison will be determined to add to his chart-topping nine-goal haul and ensure a taste of the limelight comes his way.
Mexican Clausura: Tension at both ends of the table
There is no margin for error in Group 2 with all six teams separated by just three points. Leaders Guadalajara will be out to build on their impressive 5-0 win over Group 1 pace-setters Pachuca when they visit Jaguares, who themselves are second only to Toluca in Group 3. Los Diablos Rojos, who have drawn their last two encounters, host Group 3 bottom side Necaxa.
High stakes: Pachuca have a point to prove after last weekend's drubbing by Chivas, but are sure to be sternly tested by a Tecos UAG side within touching distance of the top of Group 2.
Player to watch: Omar Bravo has joined Tigres on loan from Deportivo La Coruna determined to get more playing time and help lift his new side up the standings in the process. Under the guidance of former Argentina supremo Jose Pekerman, can Bravo inspire Tigres against Puebla?
Over in Asia, where several leagues have postponed matches ahead of the start of the AFC Champions League, Korea Republic's K-League will get underway with the clash between holders Suwon Bluewings and Pohang Steelers. In Japan, Kashima Antlers begin their own title defence against fellow hopefuls Urawa Red Diamonds in a match sure to make headlines.
Turning to Tunisia, new leaders Club Africain will want to celebrate ousting Esperance from top spot by beating eight-placed Club Sportif Hammam Lif, who have the division's joint-worst defensive record. All the signs point to another success for the high-flyers who are yet to taste defeat in their 21 games so far this campaign.