ABU DHABI // Juan Sebastien Veron hopes to emulate his father tonight when Argentina's Estudiantes face Barcelona tonight. The two attack-minded sides, each champions of their respective confederations, meet at Zayed Sports City in the Club World Cup final and while Veron's father, Juan Ramon Veron, won the then-named Intercontinental Cup in 1968 with Estudiantes, his son, now captain of Los Pincharratas, says he is determined to bring more success to the club.
"Playing for Estudiantes, for me, is the same as a laugh from a father to his son," he said. "The club feels like family because we grew up together and we have developed wonderfully. I am 34 years old, I have been playing football for a long time and I bear the responsibility of being the son of a good player. For this reason, I am determined to do my name as proud as I can. I am proud to be a Veron."
The club's coach, Alejandro Sabella, who played for the La Plata club between 1982 and 1985, says he can relate to how his captain is feeling ahead of what he described as "one of the biggest challenges in the club's history". "I played for Estudiantes a long time ago, but it remains part of my life," said Sabella. "[Veron's] father was a great player that won three Copa Libertadores so the Verons love this club, probably more than anyone else in the team.
"The club is like a sweet perfume splashed upon our lives. You cannot escape it; it follows you everywhere. We both have a long history at the club and we will try our best to excel and see what happens. "This is one of the biggest challenges we have faced and, if we win, it will be one of the biggest victories in our history. I personally have a big responsibility technically and tactically and I have to get it right."
Both coach and captain maintained the team is calm and at ease, despite the tough task ahead facing the mighty Barcelona, the European champions, and Argentine wizard Lionel Messi. "We know we will have to play splendidly if we are to win," said Sabella. "Barcelona are a very good team. They have a fantastic way of playing that is very successful and many people are talking like Barcelona have already won. We definitely go into the game as the underdogs, but we are confident and have sacrificed our free time to train extra hard because we know the enormous responsibility we face."
firstname.lastname@example.org Barcelona v Estudiantes, KO 8pm, Aljazeera Sport 2