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12.11.2009 14:31

Atlante of Mexico the toughest rival


Atlante of Mexico, Auckland City of New Zealand and Al Ahli of Dubai are the three possible opponents FC Barcelona could face in the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

The Hotel Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi was the venue for today’s draw, which will be held in the emirate at the end of the year. As was already known, Barça go directly into the semi final. But they won’t know who they’ll face until December 12.

CONCACAF champion

atlantecruzazulfinalconq.jpgBarça will play the winner of the game between Atlante FC and the winner of the qualifying match on December 9 between guests Al Ahli of Dubai, the current United Arab Emirates champion, and Oceania champions Auckland City, who also featured in 2006, the last time FC Barcelona were involved.

Atlante FC are the champions of the CONCACAF zone, which unites clubs from North and Central American and the Caribbean. Founded in 1916, they are one of the traditional giants of Mexican football, known as the ‘Iron Colts’. Coached by José Guadalupe Cruz, their star players include Argentine goalkeeper Federico Vilar, Mexican midfielder Christian Bermúdez, and Colombian striker Luis Gabriel Rey.

New opponents in the Zayed Stadium

EstadiZayed.jpgThe semi final will be on December 16, and whoever Barça play, it will be somebody they have never played before. The venue will be the Zayed Stadium, inaugurated in 1980 and with a capacity of 49,500, all covered by an Arabic style roof. This is where the United Arab Emirates (UAE) play their home games.

The other semi final

On the other side of the draw, Estudiantes de la Plata of Argentina, winners of the Copa Libertadores, will play their semi final on the 15th. They will face either TP Mazembe Englebert (DR Congo) or Pohang Steelers (South Korea).
Atlante of Mexico the toughest rival
Who’ll take over from Manchester United?
The current world champion club is Manchester United, whose representative Sir Bobby Charlton took charge of the draw this year. As in the Champions League earlier this year, FC Barcelona will be hoping to follow from the English club as winners. The final will be on December 19.

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