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Meet the teams that will try and prevent Real Madrid from winning back to back Club World Cups

taavi.pailk
ANALYST
Feature
3.60K   //    04 Dec 2017, 12:32 IST

Real Madrid v Kashima Antlers- FIFA Club World Cup Final
Real Madrid celebrating their FIFA Club World Cup win in 2016

The 14th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup will begin this week in the United Arab Emirates. Real Madrid are the defending champions after beating Japan's Kashima Antlers 4-2 after extra time last year.

Los Blancos were close to a shock defeat 12 months ago as only a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty took the game into extra time. Ronaldo ended up finishing off his hat-trick in extra time to bring Real their 2nd ever Club World Cup crown.

It promises to be another exciting tournament this time around.

Here's a look at six teams that will challenge Real at the tournament, which takes place 6-16 December.


#6 Al-Jazira

UAE v Thailand - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Ali Mabkhout in action for UAE against Thailand in a 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Every year, six continental champions are joined by one team from the host nation. This time it's Al-Jazira, who won the UAE Pro-League title for the second time in their history last season. They won 22 of 26 games, finishing as champions with an 11 gap to their closest rival.

Local star Ali Mabkhout was the main man behind the success, scoring 33 of the team's 72 goals. The 27-year-old has spent his entire career at the club and is well renowned for his turn of pace. He could end up being one of the stars of the tournament if Al-Jazira manages to repeat the success of Kashima, who reached the final last year as a representative of the host nation.

Alongside Mabkhout, former Real man Lassana Diarra, Moroccan Mbark Boussafa and Brazilian Romarinho are the stars of the side. The latter has also won the Club World Cup previously, in 2012 with Corinthians, who shocked Chelsea in the final.

The team is lead by 62-year-old Dutch manager Henk ten Cate. The former Barcelona and Chelsea assistant manager has been in charge since last year. The well-travelled former left winger took the job after a three-year hiatus from management.

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