One World Cup a year should surely be enough for even the most passionate fan – what to do, then, when two come along in the space of six months? If the excitement of the FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil has already made this a special year for football, then the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2014 promises to provide a fitting finale to an unforgettable 12 months.
For two of the 161 players on the official competition list, the tournament represents an opportunity to become world champions for the second time this year. Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira tasted victory at FIFA's flagship event when they lifted the World Cup with Germany at the Maracana on 13 July, and now they hope to add the club equivalent.
For their Real Madrid team-mates Marcelo, Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and even Cristiano Ronaldo – who all lost to Germany with their respective countries during the World Cup – the Club World Cup represents the perfect opportunity to put a little of that disappointment behind them.
That will also be one of the aims of Spain internationals Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. After their national team was knocked out early in Brazil, the pair will be hoping to recapture the glory of another famous Spanish triumph on African soil – the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For the other members of the star-studded Real Madrid squad, it will be a chance to add another piece of silverware to the current European champion's already bulging trophy cabinet.
Aiming to prevent the European domination of 2014 continuing at the Club World Cup and to give Argentina a title to make up for losing the Final in Brazil, San Lorenzo arrive at the competition led by the likes of Nestor Ortigoza, Sebastian Torrico, Julio Buffarini and Emmanuel Mas, with coach Edgardo Bauza crossing his fingers that Leandro Romagnoli can recover before the semi-final on 17 December. Cruz Azul, meanwhile, will hope that an experienced squad featuring names like Jose Corona, Gerardo Torrado, Marco Fabian and Christian Gimenez will finally allow a Mexican side to make a serious impact on the competition.
This year's edition will feature players from 28 different nations, three fewer than in 2013. Algeria, for its part, will be represented by ES Setif and star striker Sofiane Younes, while the host nation's Moghreb Tetouan will try to repeat Raja Casablanca’s impressive 2013 campaign with the help of a player who knows the competition well: Moussine Iajour, scorer of two goals in last year’s tournament. When it comes to experience, however, no one can match Auckland City, who are back at the Club World Cup with 12 players who appeared in last year’s edition, including veteran Ivan Vicelich, who will play at the tournament for the fifth time.
Now that the seven clubs have confirmed their squads, all that is left is for their star players to give us one more reason to remember this magical year of 2014.