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Club World Cup - Santos penpics
Published : 06 Dec 2011 04:46:56
Penpics for Brazil's Santos ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup, which starts on Thursday:
No Santos player will ever outdo Pele, but Neymar is the big star of the finest Santos team since the 1960s. Indeed, aged just 19, he is considered to be the big hope for the future of Brazilian football, and is expected to lead the national team into the 2014 World Cup on home soil. Has enjoyed a remarkable 2011, scoring in the second leg of Santos' Copa Libertadores final win over Penarol. Was reportedly close to a move to Real Madrid, only to sign a contract extension keeping him at Santos until 2014. Voted best player in the Brazilian championship, Neymar was also on the initial list of nominees for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, and his stunning solo goal in a 5-4 defeat to Flamengo has been shortlisted for the FIFA Ferenc Puskas goal of the year award.
PAULO HENRIQUE GANSO (midfield)
Overshadowed by Neymar but an exceptionally talented player, 22-year-old attacking midfielder Ganso is another Santos star coveted by Europe's finest. Missed much of the first half of 2011 due to a serious knee injury but played in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final. Also featured in Brazil's disappointing Copa America campaign and is a class act of whom much is expected in Japan.
Most recent winners of the Copa Libertadores have been stripped of their best players before heading to the Club World Cup. However, Santos have not only held on to their leading lights, they actually managed to strengthen their squad. Brought in from Gremio to replace Ze Eduardo, who was sold to Genoa in Italy, Borges was the top scorer in the Brazilian league in the 2011 season with 23 goals despite Santos finishing an underwhelming 10th. The 31-year-old -- who had a spell in Japan in 2006 with second tier club Vegalta Sendai -- even managed to win a call-up to the Brazilian national team for a September friendly against Argentina.
MURICY RAMALHO (coach)
As a player, Ramalho won the Brazilian title with Sao Paulo and was also a champion in Mexico with Puebla. Has coached a whole host of teams and won three consecutive Brazilian league crowns in a second spell in charge of Sao Paulo between 2006 and 2009. Was a contender to replace Dunga in charge of the Brazilian national team last year before leading Fluminense to the 2010 domestic title. Joined Santos in April, weeks after leaving Fluminense, and led them to Libertadores glory in June. Turned 56 at the end of November, and recently signed a new deal, keeping him at Santos until the end of next season. Always sends out his teams to be well-organised -- at Santos he has a sound defensive base and the onus is on Neymar to create.