Club World Cup veteran Basanta aims to save best for last

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  • Basanta to play his fourth Club World Cup
  • “It could be a good start to the final phase of my career”
  • Monterrey’s opening game against Al-Sadd Sports Club

Few players know the FIFA Club World Cup™ as well as Jose Basanta. When the whistle blows to start the match between Monterrey and Al-Sadd this Saturday, the Rayado central defender will be taking part in the competition for the fourth time.

“I’m happy and very pleased to be able to return to a Club World Cup, a tournament at which the organization is comparable at an international level to a World Cup. I was at Brazil 2014, and everything is very similar.”

He first graced this competition at Japan 2011 aged 27 and now arrives in Qatar at the age of 35 and firmly established as captain. “All that’s changed is my age,” he said good humouredly. “My last Club World Cup was in 2013, so it’s been a few years. Today I’ve more experience and done a lot in my career: I’ve played in Europe, I competed in a World Cup with Argentina, I went back to Monterrey… Now, I’m looking forward to playing our first game at this World Cup and winning it.

His track record and number of games played make him a point of reference for those without his experience in the competition. “Some players ask what it’s like, and the first thing I tell them is to enjoy it, as it’s not a tournament you get to play in every year. I remind them that it’s not easy to qualify and that they need to savour it. The experience you gain at tournaments like these is awesome.”