The countdown has begun ahead of Thursday’s first match at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2008 when Adelaide United meet Waitakere United. Excitement is building with every passing minute in host cities Tokyo, Toyota and Yokohama, but users say they are looking forward to the skill and artistry of two players in particular, Mohamed Aboutrika from Egyptian outfit Al Ahly, and Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Which star are you most looking forward to seeing at the FIFA Club World Cup?" was the question in our latest user poll, and the answer was clear-cut to say the least. No fewer than 47.63 per cent of you are captivated at the prospect of Aboutrika working his magic at the prestigious match-up of the continental champions, where he is set to compete for an impressive third time. The Egyptian playmaker thus consigned the freshly-crowned European Footballer of the Year to second place: Portugal wizard Cristiano Ronaldo garnered 38.53 per cent of the votes cast.

The rest of the field came in some way off the leading pair. Pachuca marksman Christian Gimenez scored 6.1 per cent, with 3.8 per cent for Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito shot-stopper Jose Cevallos. They were followed by Gamba Osaka’s Brazilian star Lucas (1.56 per cent), Travis Dodd of Adelaide United (1.4 per cent) and Waitakere United’s Danny Hay (0.98 per cent).

Our online survey produced two clear winners, but it goes without saying that the decisions which matter are taken out on the field of play. The earliest point at which Aboutrika and Ronaldo could go head-to-head is the final of the FIFA Club World Cup 2008 – and that would certainly be a prospect to make the mouth water.