Club World Cup kicks off with Real Madrid and Flamengo in the running

Al-Ahly, Auckland City, Al Hilal, Casablanca and Seattle Sounders are the other teams playing in the FIFA tournament

AFP/FAYEZ NURELDINE  -   Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema

The Ibn Batouta stadium in Tangiers is hosting a new edition of the FIFA Club World Cup. A tournament that will see its format altered in the coming years because the aim is to give it an importance almost on a par with that of a national team World Cup.  

For the moment, in this year's edition, Real Madrid and Flamengo are expected to meet in the final on Saturday 11 February at 20:00 at the Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat. 

The tournament kicks off with a round of 16 where Al Alhy and Auckland City will meet for a place in the quarter-finals where Seattle Sounders await. In the same round, Wydad Casablanca and Al-Hilal will meet for a semi-final place against Flamengo. It is in that round that Real Madrid will also enter, playing their matches on the 8th at 20:00 in the same stadium in the Moroccan capital.  

Real Madrid will arrive in the middle of an intense nine weeks of football with matches every three days. They will face Liverpool, Atletico and Barcelona on several occasions including the Copa del Rey.  

Ancelotti has already said the aim is to win games and not give minutes to players like Odriozola, Mariano or Hazard who he does not count on. Camavinga at full-back is an option until Carvajal recovers, although up front there is only Benzema because the club has not gone to the winter transfer window.  


Flamengo are Libertadores champions and have a place in this tournament. They were also champions of the Brazilian Cup and raised the value of their players so that Europe is looking at them as usual.  

The spectacle of a supposed final with the Spanish team will be to see again Arturo Vidal, David Luiz, Felipe Luis, Everton or Giorgian de Arrascaeta in a match at the highest level.  

South America's most expensive squad is coached by Portuguese Vitor Pereira. 


One of the opponents of the Brazilian team could be Wydad Casablanca. They come into the tournament as African champions and hosts of the tournament. They are Morocco's most successful club and have won the last five leagues.  

The coach who led them to the glory of winning the African Champions League was Walid Regragui, the current coach of Morocco. With the "Red Castle" he won the final against Al Ahly and developed players like Zouhair El Moutaraji and Yahya Jabrane. 


Seattle Sounders is the first team from the United States league to play in the Club World Cup. They do so as champions of the CONCACAF Champions League after beating Pumas of Mexico 3-0 in the final.  

Brian Schmetzer's team is preparing for the tournament in Marbella to avoid the Seattle cold and, after playing in the World Cup, will return home to kick off a new edition of MLS at the end of February.  

Al Hilal

Al Hilal is the 2021 Asian Champions League champion, the 2022 tournament is not over yet and FIFA needed to have an Asian team present.  

Al Hilal is the great rival of Al Nassr, the team where Cristiano Ronaldo has joined. The club with the most titles that the Portuguese will have to beat if he wants to be great in other latitudes as well.  

Messi, Benzema, Modric or Sergio Ramos are the stars that Saudi Arabia wants to attract to this competition to reach the 2030 World Cup.  

Auckland and Al-Ahly

Auckland City is the Oceania champion. A team that is not quite professional, they arrive in Morocco remembering how they fared in 2014 when they lost to San Lorenzo and managed to finish third after beating Cruz Azul.  

The runners-up in the African confederation are Al-Ahly, a Cairo-based team from Egypt. Their presence in this tournament is due to the fact that they played in the final against Wydad and that opened up a new place for another African team.  

The team is in full competition and their coach is Swiss international Marcel Koller. In 2006 they participated in this tournament and lost in the semi-finals to Internacional of Brazil, but eliminated Club America to win the bronze medal.