Saudi Arabia 2023: Squads in Numbers

The FIFA Club World Cup Saudi Arabia 2023 kicks off on Tuesday with Al Ittihad playing Auckland City in a first round clash.

As Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad and New Zealand’s intensify their preparations, we take a look at the facts and figures from the final squads. 

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland and Urawa Red Diamonds goalkeeper Ayumi Niekawa, who stand at 195 centimetres, will be the joint-tallest players at the tournament. 

They are followed by Vitor Eudes (194), Ahmed Hegazy (193), Pedro Rangel (192), Mohamed El Shenawy (191) and Rodri (191). Urawa playmaker Shoya Nakajima is the smallest at 164 centimetres.

Kevin De Bruyne will be the most-capped international at this FIFA Club World Cup (99 for Belgium).

He is followed by Karim Benzema (97 for France), Mateo Kovacic (97 for Croatia), Ali Maaloul (90 for Tunisia), Bernardo Silva (87 for Portugal), Ahmed Hegazi (83 for Egypt), Kyle Walker (81 for England), John Stones (69 for England), Marcelo (58 for Brazil), Manuel Akanji (57 for Switzerland), Angel Mena (55 for Ecuador), Ruben Dias (53 for Portugal), N’Golo Kante (53 for France), Mohamed Elshenawy (51 for Egypt) and Amr Elsolia (50 for Egypt).

Only one 40-something has played in the Club World Cup, but that figure could rise to three in Jeddah. Fluminense goalkeeper Fabio and centre-back Felipe Melo are 43 and 40 respectively – older even than two coaches: 39-year-olds Nicolas Larcamon of Leon and Auckland City’s Albert Riera. 

Oscar Perez is the oldest player in the competition’s history, having kept goal for Pachuca against Gremio in the UAE 2017 semi-finals at the age of 44 years and 10 months.

Auckland City goalkeeper Joe Wallis will be the youngest player at the tournament, aged 18. 

The only other teenagers are Manchester City’s Rico Lewis, Adam Bell of Auckland and Al Ittihad’s Marwan Alsahafi.

Sixteen of Manchester City’s 23 players are foreigners. They are followed by Al Ittihad (10), Leon (9), Auckland City (5), Urawa Red Diamonds (5, pictured below), Al Ahly (4) and Fluminense (3). 

City’s only English players are Scott Carson, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Rico Lewis, Kalvin Phillips, John Stones and Kyle Walker.

Al Ahly’s Hussein Elshahat is the Saudi Arabia 2023 player with the most Club World Cup appearances to his name, his 12 being a competition record. 

Auckland’s Emiliano Tade is on 11, with Ahly trio Aliou Dieng, Hany Mohamed and Mohamed Taher on 10 apiece.

Karim Benzema is the Saudi Arabia 2023 participant with the most Club World Cup goals to his name: four. 

Al Ittihad’s former Real Madrid striker is striving to become the eighth player to score for multiple sides in the competition after Dwight Yorke (Manchester United and Sydney FC), Neri Cardozo (Boca Juniors and Monterrey), Ronaldinho (Barcelona and Atletico Mineiro), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Real Madrid), Tsukasa Shiotani (Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Al Ain), Hussein Elshahat (Al Ain and Al Ahly) and Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly).

Four of the seven squads feature an Argentinian: Emiliano Tade for Auckland, German Cano (pictured below) for Fluminense, Adonis Frias and Lucas Romero for Leon, and Julian Alvarez for Manchester City.

Three squads apiece include a Brazilian and a Spaniard.

Mateo Kovacic, who won the tournament with Real Madrid twice and Chelsea once, will become the first player to triumph with three clubs if Manchester City lift the trophy. 

Another eight players have done it with two different teams: Dida (Corinthians and AC Milan), Danilo (Sao Paulo and Corinthians), Fabio Santos (Sao Paulo and Corinthians), Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona and Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Bayern and Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Madrid), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich and Liverpool) and David Alaba (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid).

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga