Four things learned from Al Jazira's Club World Cup campaign

Matt Jones - Editor 20:40 16/12/2017
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Al Jazira bowed out of the FIFA Club World Cup after a 4-1 defeat to Pachuca on Saturday night, meaning the Pride of Abu Dhabi missed out on a bronze medal.

But, after a stellar campaign, which included a strong performance against Real Madrid on Wednesday, we look at four things learned from their tournament in the UAE.

ROMARINHO COMING INTO HIS OWN

The Brazilian has been ticking along nicely since his summer arrival, with four goals in 13 games in all competitions and three Arabian Gulf League assists.

But he has exploded on the bigger stage, rocketing a ragged Al Jazira into the Club World Cup proper with the only goal against Auckland City, and scoring stylishly to put them 1-0 up against the mighty Real Madrid. While Lassana Diarra and Ahmed Khalil have flopped, he has fizzled.

Hit: Romarinho.

ALI MABKHOUT PROVES HE CAN DO IT ON WORLD STAGE

For a while we have talked up the two top talents of UAE football, Mabkhout and Omar Abdulrahman, suggesting both have what it takes to succeed at a higher level.

Under the bright white spotlight against Real, Mabkhout certainly didn’t melt, dazzling under the eye of the watching world. He was also the man who fired them to that magical semi-final, scoring the only goal to knock out reigning Asian champions Urawa Reds.

Mabkhout shined against the world’s elite.

Al ATTAS SHOULD BE TARGETING UAE’S 2019 ASIAN CUP SQUAD

Partly because of necessity, partly because of talent, rising star Mohamed Al Attas has played a pivotal role during Jazira’s Club World Cup journey. Thrust into the limelight due to a myriad of injuries, Al Attas could have been forgiven for wilting after a poor display against Auckland.

That turned out to be but a blip on what appears to be a promising road to stardom for the multi-skilled 20-year-old. If he can sustain his place in the Jazira first team this season, breaking into the national team set-up for the 2019 Asian Cup on home soil should be his next aim.

Fine prospect: Al Attas.

BOUSSOUFA CEMENTING PLACE AS CLUB LEGEND

In recent years, the club has bought in big names such as Mirko Vucinic, Jefferson Farfan and Thiago Neves, but all have left with tarnished reputations. Diminutive Moroccan Boussoufa, however, has bucked the trend of big name Jazira disappointments by proving to be a shining example both on and off the pitch.

The former Ajax and Chelsea youngster glides across the field, picking holes in opposition defences, while knitting together a talented crop of youngsters and providing a role model for them to admire.

Boussoufa shined in the tournament.

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