Pachuca from Mexico face off against Copa Libertadores winners Gremio of Brazil this evening in Abu Dhabi and head of the clash, we’ve taken a closer look at five players who will be in action.
Gremio record: 421 games, zero goals
The two-times-capped Brazil goalkeeper sealed his place in Gremio’s hall of fame en route to victory during this year’s Copa Libertadores with an incredible semi-final save.
Turning out against Ecuador’s surprise package Barcelona SC, he channelled Denmark great Peter Schmeichel to launch himself in the way of Ariel Nahuelpan’s point-blank effort. This is just one of many highlights since the his debut all the way back in 2005.
Gremio record: 169 games, nine goals
Even though he is Sao Paulo-born, Geromel is among a growing group of Brazilian footballers who were strangers in their own land upon arrival.
This was because the composed centre-back had debuted in Portugal, before making his name at Germany’s Cologne and Spain’s Real Mallorca.
But since first turning out for Gremio three years ago, he’s finally become a household name. His splendid displays even saw a first Brazil cap won last January.
Gremio record: 102 games, 14 goals
A familiar face to Arabian Gulf League aficionados has returned to the UAE for the Club World Cup.
Winger Fernandinho endured a non-descript two-year spell on the books at Al Jazira from 2012-14, with 2013/14 spent on loan at Atletico Mineiro.
During that time, he struck nine times in 40 matches. He was picked up for €2 million (Dh10.1m) by Gremio in July 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. His supply to the likes of Luan and Lucas Barrios from out wide is a key threat.
Gremio record: 219 games, 65 goals
With centre midfielder Artur back home recuperating from injury, Luan is the main attraction for Imortal Tricolor.
The forward is highly versed in the traditions of Brazilian football, boasting exquisite skills and a devastating eye for goal.
These talents were on show in home soil at the Rio 2016 Olympics, his three goals helping the hosts to an emotional gold medal. The one cap, reputed Liverpool and Spartak Moscow target will embrace another opportunity to shine.
Gremio record: 39 games, 18 goals
A glorious end to a well-travelled career is under way for Barrios. The Argentina-born, Paraguay international has proved an adept pick-up since being rescued from Palmeiras earlier this year.
Barrios provides a perfect pivot point up top, utilising experience earned at clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Guangzhou Evergrande.
He was prolific in the club’s Libertadores win, scoring six times in 13 appearances.
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