Srinivasan Mohan gives three reasons as to why the South American champions shall triumph in Japan when they face the European giants...The year was 1956. At a time when Brazilian football was just starting to turn a few heads in the world, a club called Santos in Sao Paulo, Brazil unveiled a player called Pele to the world.
No one would have ever thought that this youngster would go on to carve a niche for himself in football history.
What happened after this glorious event the world knows only too well. Fast forward to 2011 and that very same Santos is now ready to lock horns with one of the best in football namely FC Barcelona, the champions of Europe in the Club World Cup.
Despite their amazing form and exciting brand of football Santos come into the final of the Club World Cup as underdogs. This tag would suit them just fine as they would not be weighed down by expectations.
But just like how David pulled off an upset against Goliath, the South American champions may have an ace up their sleeve to tackle the Catalans. Let’s take a look why Santos are capable of getting one over their counterparts from Europe.
Neymar, Ganso, Danilo, Elano & Borges
Santos have their own Dani Alves, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi in the form of Danilo, Elano, Ganso and Neymar. Add Borges to the list and they form the attacking fulcrum for the Brazilian champions.
Danilo, another exciting new talent to emerge from Brazil and Porto’s latest signing, bombs up and down the right flank and is a constant threat upfront. His crossing upfront and the ability to track the run of the opposition wingers make for a lethal combination which is why Barcelona does need to keep an eye on him.
Ganso is being courted by numerous clubs in Europe has done his reputation no harm by proving to the world that he will be one of the future stars for Brazil. Having played for Santos 127 times at the tender age of 22 he will be vital in helping Santos break down the intricate passing patterns of the Barcelona midfield.
Elano’s precision from set-pieces, creativity in midfield, ability to pick out his teammates is what makes him so key to the functioning of the Santos team. His passes will test the Barcelona defence which has shown to be vulnerable in the past.
The front two of Borges and Neymar have a difference of 12 years in age. But their astounding goal tally for the club is what will make Barcelona take notice of this pair. The 31 year old Borges has played 32 times and scored 24 goals which is an impressive record. Neymar, the target of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona themselves, has 158 appearances with 81 goals to show all at the age of 19 years!!!! What Pep Guardiola will resort to stop the key men of Santos will decide the outcome of this thrilling encounter
CWC Means Much More To Santos
With the club’s centenary celebrations set for next year, a Club World Cup triumph would befit the occasion. The club officials, on numerous occasions, have stated their desire of being the world champions as part of their 100 year celebrations.
While several team-members of the present Santos squad have been targeted by European clubs, the likes of Neymar and Ganso had made it clear back in the summer that they aim to win the Club World Cup by beating Barcelona.
Though Pep Guardiola’s side have an insatiable hunger for trophies, Club World Cup is the biggest competition for Santos to aim at, as opposed to the Champions League which the Catalans look up to.
Complacency On The Part Of Barcelona
Barcelona have achieved everything that a football club can hope to win. All of their players are the idols of many a football fan all over the world. But as with any team in the world complacency does tend to creep into the ranks and this can work to the advantage of the opposition.
Catching Barcelona off guard has been their undoing on the occasions that the Catalans have been on the losing side. This was seen a few weeks back when a combination of Getafe’s tenacity and Barca’s complacency ensured that they would be behind the leaders Real Madrid by a margin of 6 points.
Though Barca hit back at critics with their performance at the Bernebeu, they may tend to take this Santos side a little lightly as they are clearly the underdogs in the tie. If this occurs, then Santos will have a great chance of taking the game to the Catalan giants and pull off one of their biggest ever victories.
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