Western Sydney Wanderers to welcome three key signings for next month’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco

admin | 杭州桑拿
7 Jul 2019

The Western Sydney Wanderers’ chances of lining up against Real Madrid in next month’s FIFA Club World Cup have been bolstered by the inclusion of three players who were ineligible for the Asian Champions League.

The Wanderers were unable to use Dutch international Romeo Castelen, Socceroo Nikita Rukavytsya or Nigerian Seyi Adeleke during the ACL campaign because of the Asian Football Confederation’s eligibility restrictions.

However, the trio will bolster coach Tony Popovic’s squad for the Club World Cup in Morocco next month, which begins against Mexican heavyweights Cruz Azul on December 13.

The Wanderers relied on their defence to be crowned kings of Asia with a 1-0 aggregate win against Al Hilal in the final over two legs, but the introduction of Castelen and Rukavytsya adds another dimension to their attack.

Rukavytsya, who played against Real Madrid in a friendly in 2011 for Hertha BSC, said he was excited about the opportunity of playing against the world’s best and a potential showdown against the Spanish giants in the semi-final if they can topple Cruz Azul.

“It’s great for the club to be part of this,” Rukavytsya said.

“It’s obviously one of the best tournaments for a club to be involved in. I’ve played against Real Madrid before when I was at Hertha BSC three years ago. I think we lost 3-1 or 4-1 at our home ground in Berlin.

“They are obviously one of the best teams in the world with superstar players. I don’t know much about Cruz Azul. They have to be very good if they won their league.”

Adeleke signed with the Wanderers in August but the defender was unable to travel to Australia until his visa application was approved following strict immigration quarantine measures relating to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

However, six weeks after signing he finally touched down in Sydney and has been training with the Wanderers since the start of October.

Castelen, who represented Netherlands 10 times between 2004 and 2007, has been waiting patiently for his chance to leave his mark at the Wanderers.

He played in Western Sydney’s opening two losses of the season and was unable to take part in the Champions League, unlike fellow recruit Vitor Saba, who signed with the Wanderers in time to play a part in Asia.

Rukavytsya signed with the Wanderers at the start of last month but is yet to play a game for the club. Rukavytsya, who moved with his family from Ukraine to Australia aged 14, has not played  in the A-League since leaving the Perth Glory in 2009.

The 27-year-old was then picked up by Dutch club FC Twente for $1.2 million, a fee which remains among the highest in A-League history.

He has since played for Belgian side Roeselare, Hertha, Mainz and FSV Frankfurt before signing with the Wanderers last month.

“It was a bit stressful watching the [Asian Champions League] final,” Rukavytsya said.

“It was a difficult and very tough game. It was not easy but the boys done a good job. It’s a great achievement for an Australian club to win the Asian Champions League. It was hard because I want to play in every game but I couldn’t be a part of it. We’re a team, and the boys who didn’t play still feel like winners.”

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