“He’s a wonderful person. He’s got lots of titles, so maybe he can just leave this one to us.”
That’s Gremio youngster Luan after being told Real Madrid star and countryman Marcelo said he has a huge future in the game.
Luan and his teammates could make a lot more noise with a win in Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Real.
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Gremio edged Pachuca in extra time of its semifinal after Real came back to beat Al Jazira, and now hopes to become just the second non-European club to win the Club World Cup since 2007.
Brazilian clubs won the first three CWCs between 2000-06, but Corinthians claimed the lone Brazilian title since when it beat Chelsea in 2012.
Spanish clubs have won the last three finals, with Real sandwiching two around Barca’s 2015 win over River Plate.
The 24-year-old Luan won Olympic gold with Brazil in 2016, and has two caps with the national team.
One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.
Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.
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Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.
Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.
Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.
A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.
Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.
Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.
Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)
Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match
Minnesota United’s roster didn’t look great when the season began, and many had the Loons finishing dead last in their MLS debut season.
It hasn’t been great, but United has improved after a very poor start. The club was forced to start MLS veteran Bobby Shuttleworth through injury, and acquired MLS veterans Sam Cronin and Marc Burch from Colorado. All three have helped stabilize a woeful unit.
If reports from FiftyFive.One are to believed, the Loons aren’t done and are focusing on moving from “not last” to an outside threat at a playoff spot.
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One of those targets is Miller Bolanos, who is out of contract at the end of this year and also being sought by Swansea City. The 27-year-old currently plays at Gremio after searing the score sheets with Emelec, and has 20 caps and eight goals for Ecuador.
Then there’s Sam Nicholson, the Scottish midfielder and teammate of Perry Kitchen at Hearts. The 22-year-old has 80 Scottish Premiership appearances under his belt, notching nine goals and 13 assists. He visited with Minnesota last week, and FiftyFive.One says he left with a contract offer.
Minnesota has played a 4-2-3-1 with Christian Ramirez up top and not getting the best service from his No. 10. Bolanos would push Kevin Molino wide while Nicholson would likely challenge Ibarra, Johan Venegas and Ismael Jome for playing time.