Gremio president Romildo Bolzan Jr believes the prospect of facing Liverpool at the Club World Cup is “less frightening” than that of Real Madrid.
Gremio are in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals, the winner of which could face Liverpool in Fifa’s flagship club tournament later this year.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Five things to know…
- Liverpool and Real Madrid are two of the most successful clubs in European Cup history.
- Real Madrid have won more Fifa Club World Cups (4) than anyone else.
- Liverpool have never won the trophy in their history.
- Liverpool recorded 97 points in the Premier League league last season and also won the Champions League.
- Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final.
In an interview with Fox Sports, Bolzan was decisive on who he regards as the bigger threat out of the two European giants.
He said: “I am certain Liverpool are less frightening than Real Madrid, who we faced [in 2017].
“Liverpool are a team that can be beaten. By us, by Flamengo, by Boca, by River. Real Madrid were a team of Galacticos – full of superstars.
“We lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in 2017. We could have taken the game to penalties and there, anything could have happened. Just like we did with Ajax in 1995, where we lost, and Hamburg in 1983 in extra time.”
Gremio lost to Madrid in the final in 2017 in a game which was far closer than many expected.
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“The favourites are always the European team”
In the past 12 years, just once has the European team not won the Club World Cup – that was Chelsea in 2012, when they lost out to Corinthians.
Since then, Europe (and specifically Spain) has dominated. In fact, it is almost assumed in the modern game that the European side will win the tournament, such is the financial advantage that those operating in the continent have over their rivals.
Liverpool will hope to carry on this trend. After all, they are reigning European champions and thrive on the big stage, However, Jurgen Klopp’s success in last season’s Champions League final was his first final victory in six attempts.