The five players to watch at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup

Humberto Suazo

Players from Monterrey, Al-Ahly, Corinthians, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Ulsan Hyundai all feature in in our list of players to keep an eye on in Japan; apart from those playing for Chelsea of course.

The FIFA Club World Cup is fast approaching with seven teams from seven different countries all participating for the coveted prize of world’s best club team. The current champions are Barcelona who toppled Santos to take the distinction and while in the past the tendency has been for the European and South American sides to compete the final on an annual basis TP Mazembe of DR Congo proved in 2010 that this is not always the case.

While in the past the likes of Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Kaka have stolen the show there will be some players apart from those representing Chelsea who can surely make a name for themselves at this year’s edition in Japan.

Hisato Sato - Sanfrecce Hiroshima

Recently named the J.League MVP the ‘Japanese Inzaghi’ has been in fine goalscoring form throughout 2012; scoring 26 goals in 39 appearances. He has been singled out as the main threat from Sanfrecce to the other teams in the competition and if he gets in front of goal on his left-foot you can bet he will hit the target.

Lee Keun-Ho - Ulsan Hyundai

Lee follows in the footsteps of Hidethosi Nakata, Ali Karimi and Shinji Ono after being named 2012’s Asian Footballer of the Year. The electric quick winger sparkled in their run to AFC Champions League glory and has also flourished for the national side. Unfortunately a potential move to Europe won’t happen just yet as at the end of the season he will embark on his mandatory two-year military service while playing for the army representative side Sangiu Sangmu Phoenix in K. League 2.

Humberto Suazo - Monterrey

The Chilean has an incredible goalscoring record with the Mexican side; in fact he is their record goal-scorer with exactly 100 goals. Strong, fast and deadly in front of goal he will hope to showcase his talents on the world stage once again.

Hossam Ashour - Al Ahly

The Egyptian side have plenty of options when it comes to players to watch. Mohamad Aboutrika, Emad Moteab, Gedo, Hossam Ghaly etc. Yet for me the man to watch is combative midfielder Ashour who is integral to the sides’ free-flowing attacking approach.

Paulinho - Corinthians

Back at the tail-end of October Corinthians issued Chelsea with a swift no to the potential transfer of their star man to Stamford Bridge:

‘We have a cycle that lasts until July and we renewed his contract to keep him, not to sell him. We do not want to transfer any player in January.'

Regardless Chelsea may get a chance to see him at much closer quarters as the 24-year-old, who is also a transfer target for Arsenal and Internazionale will be playing at the tournament. He is adored by the Corinthians fans and also holds eight caps for Brazil; he was instrumental in the sides Copa Libertadores victory and his composed midfield play will be eye-catching for anyone watching.

Will you be keeping an eye on any of these players at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup?

images: © lloydm, © jikatu

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