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Marcelo Gallardo confident as Al Ittihad gears up for Club World Cup challenge

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Marcelo Gallardo confident as Al Ittihad gears up for Club World Cup challenge

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Arabian Weekly report

JEDDAH — Argentinian coach Marcelo Gallardo, head of the Al-Ittihad team, expressed that there is no greater motivation than playing in the Club World Cup.

He noted that his team is ready to enter the competition hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ittihad is set to face New Zealand’s Auckland City in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to meet Egypt’s Al-Ahly next Friday.

Gallardo said in a press conference: “We are fully prepared for the match. Auckland is a team not to be underestimated. I am happy to experience this challenge with high enthusiasm, and we will enter with confidence and determination to win.”

“When I came to Saudi Arabia, I knew there would be a significant challenge, and this is a motivation for me.

“Karim Benzema is a fantastic player; maintaining this performance for many years is not easy, and having him with us today is wonderful and drives our progress forward,” he added.

Regarding the team’s situation since he took charge, he said: “There are significant challenges, with many injuries since my arrival, and some players have returned from injuries.

“We have achieved good successes except for the last match, but we understand the need for the team to recover. We will approach the match differently, deciding on the tactics, style, and the approach we intend to adopt.”

“We have good quality and talented players, and we want to enter the matches in the best possible form. The players I have are of a high level, and that is certain, but we work to overcome distances within the team to achieve success.

“Having quality makes many things easier for us. We will compete for the championship and try to surpass our competitors,” he emphasized.

Gallardo pointed out “There is no greater motivation than playing in the Club World Cup. In the past period, we have analyzed the data, and we have the determination and strength to face the challenge well.

“We cannot talk about what happened in the past; we will move forward starting from tomorrow’s match.”

The coach, who took over the technical leadership a few weeks before the start of the World Cup, concluded, “We have the desire, and expectations are very high.

“We must play tomorrow’s match, which is the most important ever and the foundation. We seek to focus only on this match.”

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