Chelsea midfielder Oscar explains Club World Cup importance to Brazilian clubs
Chelsea midfielder Oscar has explained the importance of the Fifa Club World Cup competition in Brazil and warned his teammates of the threat that possible finalists Corinthians could pose the current European champions.
Oscar, 21, who moved to Stamford Bridge this summer, has previous experience of playing in this tournament, as he was part of the Internacional side that went to Abu Dhabi in 2010 as South American champions but were surprisingly knocked out in the semi-finals by TP Mazembe, of DR Congo.
“In Brazil, this has always been seen as the one opportunity for our clubs to play against one of the big European teams," Oscar is quoted as saying in British newspaper The Guardian.
"That opportunity doesn't come around very often, and this was always seen as the chance for them to test themselves against a big opponent from Europe, and to go and show their football to the world.
“When it became the 'Club World Cup' instead of the Intercontinental Cup, the whole world outside Europe started to take it seriously because it was the only way they could face a stronger team and test themselves against the best.
"Nowadays, even the European clubs have started to take the competition more seriously and they've been winning rather than the South Americans.
“The European teams have won the last five times and this is a trend we hope to continue, but I know they have always found it very difficult.”
Oscar, 21, grew up a São Paulo supporter but knows that Corinthians will be a threat.
"They are great rivals, the two biggest clubs in São Paulo state. There are so many big clubs in Brazil but Corinthians have the largest fan base in the country, maybe along with Flamengo.
“We have to be aware because Corinthians are going to take a huge group of supporters to Japan, even though it is so far away, and they're a strong team with many excellent players.
"Paulinho, for example, plays with me in the national team and has been outstanding in Brazil. He'll be one of the stars of the competition, so we have to be careful."
And the midfielder hopes that this time round he can leave the tournament as a winner to erase the defeat of two years ago.
"I was only 19 but it was a great experience for me. Unfortunately, we were all expecting to get to the final and it was such a big surprise for us when we lost to Mazembe.
“Very disappointing. I am pleased to have the second opportunity to take part again and I hope that this time I will get to the final and get a trophy at the end of it.”