- Guadalajara begin their Club World Cup campaign on 15 December
- Mexicans intent on making history
- Kashima Antlers’ Serginho fulfils childhood dream
When the pressure is on, he sticks his chest out and takes responsibility for leading his side from his midfield post. Orbelin Pineda has the skill set to break deadlocks, pick a hole in any system and create opportunities, sometimes with precise passes and sometimes by taking on and beating people.
It is for those reasons that the 22-year-old is one of the players that Guadalajara will look to when they step out at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018 and bid to make history by becoming the first Mexican side to win the competition.
|The match: Second round||Kashima Antlers - CD Guadalajara|
|Where||Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain City|
|When||Saturday 15 December, 17:00 local time|
“Seeing a ball and kicking it makes me smile, and I think that sums up who I am as a player,” he explained. “As far as I’m concerned it’s all about having fun. I don’t see going to the United Arab Emirates as a pressurised situation; it’s a big opportunity for me to show my quality on and off the pitch, help my team-mates and the club, and have a good tournament too.”
The lowdown on Orbelin Pineda
- Born 24 March 1996, in Coyuca de Catalan, Mexico
- Made his debut with Queretaro in 2014 before moving to Guadalajara in 2016
- Has played for his country at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015, the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, and in some 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying matches.
Explaining his club’s strategy for achieving glory, Pineda said: “Our coaching staff have looked at all the opposition players and how they work as a team. We’ve prepared well and it’s up to us now to go out on the pitch and put it all into practice, to each do our bit for the cause and support each other so we can achieve our goal.”
The sound judgement Pineda shows on the field of play is also a characteristic of his off it, as he demonstrated by refusing to look too far ahead to a possible semi-final against Real Madrid: “Right now I’m just thinking about playing the first game against Kashima. That’s good enough for me. It’s the first step. I’m confident that we can come away with a good result and that if we do come up against Real Madrid, we’re going to put in a great performance.”
As he went on to reveal, however, he has been pursuing an even bigger dream for some time now: “I’ve always said that my biggest goal is to play in Europe. So, it’s very clear in my mind that this Club World Cup is a great platform for me to demonstrate to the world what I can do and make that dream happen.”
The scene is set and Pineda is ready to carry on showing the world the skills he has to offer.
“We’re going to do all we can to reverse the fortunes of Mexican clubs in the competition. We want to make history and we’re going to give it our best shot and make it happen. Getting this far has been tough and we’re not going to pass up the opportunity now.”