TOKYO:Rodrigo Mora might be tired, but the near 30-hour journey from Buenos Aires to Tokyo has quenched nothing of his determination ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup.
“We’re dreaming of becoming world champions and we’re going to give our all in both games,” said the Uruguayan after Argentina’s South American champions arrived in Japan on two separate flights.
Team-mate Carlos Sanchez added: “We’re feeling eight or nine out of 10. We just can’t wait to enjoy this unique experience and to do it in the best possible way.”
River open their campaign in the semi-finals in Osaka on next Wednesday.
Travelling on the first flight, which made a stopover in Paris, were River’s foreign players, the youngest members of the squad and the coaching staff, headed by Marcelo Gallardo.
Waiting for them on their arrival were a number of Japanese media outlets and some locally based fans clutching shirts for signing. The rest of the squad then arrived on the second flight, which had made a stop in Frankfurt.
River will stay in Chiba, 51km east of Tokyo until Saturday. They will then move on to Osaka to take on the winners of the match that will take place the following day between TP Mazembe and the winners of the tie between Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Auckland City.
The minimum objective for Los Millonarios is to take on – almost certainly – European champions Barcelona in the final on December 20 in Yokohama.
Argentinian fans turned out in their thousands to line the 40km route that the River squad took from the Estadio Monumental to Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza Airport.
“It was unique,” said Sanchez. “It’s great to see the fans so excited. It really moves you. We’ve got a big responsibility to go out there and show people who River are and to make the fans feel proud, both the ones who come and those who don’t.”
River have won the world club crown once before, in 1986.