By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com -Nigeria
As the 2019 FIFA Club kicks off in Qatar, continental club champions are expected to trade tackles with the aim of winning the prestigious trophy.
Obviously, European Champions are always favorites to win the trophy. Defending Champions, Real Madrid won’t be defending their trophy as Liverpool will be representing Europe.
It’s against this background that we present the stats going into December 11, 2019 tournament in Numbers.
160 centimetres make Al Hilal’s Sebastian Giovinco the shortest player to have appeared for one of the seven qualifiers in 2019.
‘Atomic Ant’ is 35 centimetres (one foot and two inches) smaller than Liverpool defender Joel Matip.
133 caps is what Al Sadd’s Xavi earned at international level – almost five times as many as the other six coaches put together (27).
Felix Tagawa earned 22 for Tahiti, Antonio Mohamed four for Argentina, and Mouine Chaabani one for Tunisia, while Jorge Jesus, Jurgen Klopp and Razvan Lucescu went uncapped for Portugal, Germany and Romania respectively.
102 years is the staggering age difference between Liverpool and
Hienghene Sport. Liverpool are the oldest club at Qatar 2019 (127 years) followed by Flamengo (108 – they were previously a rowing club), Esperance (101),
Monterrey (74), Al Hilal (62), Al Sadd (50) and Hienghene (25).
65 is the age that makes Flamengo’s Jorge Jesus 13 years older than the next most senior coach at Qatar 2019, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp. Esperance’s Mouine Chaabani (38) narrowly beats Al Sadd’s Xavi (39) to being the youngest. Jesus was in the Al Hilal dugout until January, while he also coached Monterrey’s Jonathan Urretaviscaya at Benfica.
39 goals in 22 games is, astonishingly, what Baghdad Bounedjah hit to fire Al Sadd to the Qatar Stars League title and a place at the FIFA Club World Cup – easily the best ratio of any player during qualifying (1.77 per game). His team-mate Akram Afif netted 26 in 22 (1.18).
Below are the best ratios from players from four of the continental champions.
Player Club Goals Games Ratio
Bafetimbi Gomis Al Hilal 11 14 0.79
Gabigol Flamengo 9 12 0.75
Nicolas Sanchez Monterrey 5 7 0.71
Bertrand Kai Hienghene Sport 4 6 0.67
38 years is what Flamengo had gone without winning the Copa Libertadores crown until they edged River Plate on Saturday – double the next-longest gap one of the six continental champions had to wait to regain their crown, with Al Hilal ending a 19-year wait to conquer Asia.
5 goals is the margin by which an Everton Ribeiro-inspired Flamengo and a Dorlan Pabon-propelled Monterrey beat San Jose (6-1) and Sporting Kansas City (5-0) respectively – the biggest victories registered by the six continental champions during their campaigns. The Mexicans ultimately thrashed the Americans 10-2 on aggregate in the latter, which was a semi-final. Liverpool won 4-0 twice, versus Crvena Zvezda and Barcelona.
3 of the finals of the continental qualifying competitions were one-nation affairs for only the third time after Hienghene Sport, Liverpool and Monterrey overcame Magenta, Tottenham Hotspur and Tigres to reach Qatar 2019.
Auckland City, Bayern Munich and Monterrey defeated Waitakere United, Borussia Dortmund and Santos Laguna to make Morocco 2013, while America, Auckland City and Real Madrid beat Tigres, Team Wellington and Atletico Madrid to reach Japan 2016.
1 appearance: that is all the seven sides had between them over the last five FIFA Club World Cups thanks to Esperance last year. Liverpool and Al Sadd made their solitary participations in 2005 and 2011 respectively, Monterrey made the last of their three in 2013, and Al Hilal, Flamengo and Hienghene Sport have never played in the tournament.
0 defeats was what Esperance (11 wins, four draws) and Hienghene Sport (five wins, one draw) were the only teams to suffer in qualifying. Liverpool recorded the most losses (four) – three in the group stage before scraping through on goals scored, and 3-0 to a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final.
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