Romarinho interview: 'Winning the Club World Cup was a really amazing experience'
The Brazilian forward, 26, recalls winning the tournament with Corinthians in 2012 and how his Al Jazira side are a match for any team in the tournament including Real Madrid
As Henk ten Cate deliberates on what words to use to inspire his players ahead of their opening match of the 2017 Fifa Club World Cup the Al Jazira manager could do worse than turn to one of his own players to provide the pre-match pep talk.
Romarinho, the Brazilian forward, might even show off his winner's medal as part of the Corinthians squad that overcame Premier League club Chelsea in the 2012 final in Japan.
“I was very happy to win the CWC with Corinthians as it was the first time,” he said during an open day hosted by Jazira at Emirates Palace Sports Complex.
“Now I have got a second opportunity to do that with Jazira and it matters most to me.
“Winning the CWC was a really amazing experience and I can remember all that happy moments. However, that was nearly five years ago and a lot has changed from then and now.”
Corinthians edged out Chelsea 1-0 courtesy of a Paulo Guerrero strike at the International Stadium in Yokohama. Romarinho did not play in the final but made an impression in the previous round when he came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining to help the Brazilian club secure an injury-time win over Egypt's Al Ahly.
Romarinho, 26, seems certain to start this time around as the Arabian Gulf League champions face Auckland City, the champions of Oceania, in the opening play-off match at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Wednesday.
“Our focus is only on the first game,” Romarinho said. “It’s a big occasion for Jazira and the entire UAE because the whole world will be following the matches. Obviously we want to make most of the opportunity and show the world what Jazira can do."
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It will be Jazira's first time playing in the Club World Cup and Romarinho, who moved to Abu Dhabi on a free transfer over the summer from El Jaish, believes his side, currently fourth in the AGL, are capable of mixing it with any team in the tournament, including European champions Real Madrid.
“We are very well prepared for this tournament and we are confident of moving forward," Romarinho said.
“Obviously we have to respect our opponents but we are confident of doing well. The team is ready and there is no reason to think why we can’t move forward.
“If you are entering into a tournament then you have to believe in the team and I believe my team can even beat Real Madrid.
“Nothing is impossible in football. It is a dream for me and all my teammates to play at this level. Now we must go out there and live that dream. We must believe in ourselves that we can win against any opposition."
When asked which team he would most like to face, Romarinho didn't hesitate.
“It has to be Real Madrid," he said. "Who wouldn’t want to play Real? I think every team that is here will want to play Real, regardless what the outcome will be.”
First though, the task of overcoming the amateur players of Auckland City.
“As I said earlier, we are not looking beyond the first game. For us, this is the most important match in the entire competition.”
Updated: December 4, 2017 09:57 PM