Al-Duhail SC - Michael Olunga
The well-travelled Olunga had already played for clubs in Sweden, China, Spain and Japan before his move to Qatar last month.
Just 26 years old and still improving as a player, Olunga is a clinical striker with the physical power and awareness to score goals anywhere, so it came as something of a surprise when he opted to sign a three-year contract with Al Duhail in January of this year.
The Kenya international joined Djurgardens in 2016 when he left his home country for the first time and during a season-long spell there, impressed enough to attract offers from the likes of Real Betis and Club Brugge. However, he instead opted to join Chinese side Guizhou Zhicheng.
A loan spell with Girona during his time in China reminded everyone of what a talent Olunga is, when he scored a hat-trick on his La Liga debut in the span of 22 minutes. Having moved to Japan in 2018, he helped Kashiwa Reysol to promotion with 27 goals and followed that with 28 goals in the top flight for the 2020 J-League Golden Boot and MVP awards.
With several European clubs keenly interested in signing him, Olunga instead opted to move to Qatar and will be eager to showcase his considerable talents on a global stage in the Club World Cup.
Al Ahly SC - Mohamed Magdy
Mohamed Magdy, nicknamed Afsha, was the standout player for Al Ahly in their CAF Champions League, capping off a fine season by scoring a stunning winning goal in the final.
Al Ahly faced Cairo rivals Zamalek in Novembers's CAF Champions League final and with the scores level at 1-1 and the game seemingly heading for extra time, Afsha produced a moment of magic with an incredible volley from distance to give his side their ninth Champions League crown.
Having spent his career to date playing in Egypt, the attacking midfielder had been heavily linked with a move to Celtic, but Al Ahly resisted the temptation to cash in on their prize player until at least after the Club World Cup.
A pacey, technical player with a clear eye for goal, Afsha can play on the right or through the centre and if he performs to the level of his ability in Qatar, Celtic may well regret not wrapping up a deal for him when they had the chance.
1.2 million votes later, we present to you the #TotalCAFCL 2019-20 fan-voted Goal of the Season! ??@AlAhly's Mohamed Magdy Afsha's historic strike vs. Zamalek in the final. ??— #TotalCHAN2020 (@CAF_Online) December 20, 2020
Enjoy the goal from 14 different perspectives! ?? pic.twitter.com/vop8Lkj5fc
Bayern Munich - Jamal Musiala
Tournament favourites and European champions Bayern Munich are very much a known quantity but there's still reasons to be excited about the squad, not least the inclusion of 17-year-old Jamal Musiala.
Born in Germany, the attacking midfielder moved to England when he was seven and has represented both Germany and England at underage level, although has recently indicated that he sees his international future with England. Joachim Low has indicated that he is ready to call him up to the German senior side, should he change his mind.
A product of the Chelsea youth system, Musiala joined Bayern in 2019 after eight years with the London club and has already made a big impression with the Bavarian giants.
Musiala is Bayern's youngest ever Bundesliga player and goalscorer, and already has the confidence of manager Hansi Flick, who has called upon him both domestically and internationally in the Champions League this season.
Flick looks set to deploy Musiala in Qatar, and the teenager is comfortable playing both in midfield and in a more advanced role just behind the main striker. Tall and rangy with a real eye for an incisive pass, Musiala is a genuine playmaker with ability and vision beyond his years.
Palmeiras - Gabriel Veron
The 18-year-old Gabriel Veron is already attracting the attention of some of the biggest clubs in Europe and looks set to add to his burgeoning reputation in Qatar.
Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United are among the clubs chasing the young attacker, with Brazilian legend Rivaldo advising the youngster to link up with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
Breaking into the Palmeiras first-team set-up in 2019, Veron became their youngest ever scorer in the Copa Libertadores, as well as winning the Golden Ball award at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Reminiscent in style of a young Cristiano Ronaldo with pace to burn, quick feet and a great first touch, Veron will be eager to make up for missing out on this year’s Copa Libertadores final through injury.
Here's Palmeiras’ 17-year-old Gabriel Veron with an outside-of-the-boot lob from a good forty yards out. Bloody hell. pic.twitter.com/1mtx39E7h0— MUNDIAL (@MundialMag) June 24, 2020
Tigres UANL - Carlos Salcedo
While veteran French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is undoubtedly the star of the Tigres side, enjoying a lengthy Kenny Powers-style Eastbound and Down career swansong in Mexico, he’s not the only successful international star at the club.
Mexican centre-back Carlos Salcedo may not always get the same headlines as Gignac but he’s been just as integral to his side’s recent success as the Frenchman, and as a 27-year-old, is really coming into the peak of his powers.
With spells at Fiorentina and Eintracht Frankfurt already under his belt, Salcedo made the decision to return to Mexico in January 2019 for family reasons and both personal and club accolades have followed.
Playing a starring role in both Tigres 2019 Liga MX triumph and their 2020 CONCACAF Champions League winning campaign, Salcedo has been the rock on which manager Ricardo Ferretti has built his side.
A powerful and combative defender who’s good in the air and has a great eye for a pass, Salcedo has become a mainstay of the Mexican national team, featuring for them in the 2018 World Cup and being named in the Best XI of the tournament for the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Ulsan Hyndai - Yoon Bit-garam
At 30 years of age, midfielder Yoon Bit-garam isn’t exactly a breakout star, but he is perhaps Ulsan Hyndai’s most important player and in the form of his career.
Having spent his career playing in Korea, apart from a year in China, Yoon has gone quietly under the radar for much of it, but his presence in the heart of the Ulsan Hyndai midfield was crucial to their success in the AFC Champions League last year.
Similar in style to the likes of Steven Gerrard and Michael Ballack, Yoon is the engine at the heart of the Korean side, with a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
With a maturity and experience that allows him to be an effective defensive midfielder as well the link-man between the midfield and attack, Yoon was named the MVP of the AFC Champions League, scoring four goals throughout the tournament.
Ulsan Hyndai will be hoping for a similar return from him in Qatar.
Watch every game of the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup across the RTÉ Player and RTÉ Television.
Thurs 4 February: Tigres v Ulsan Hyundai, RTÉ Player 2pm
Thurs 4 February: Al Duhail v Al Ahly, RTÉ Player 5:30pm
Sun 7 February: 5th Place Match - Loser Match 2 v Loser Match 3 RTÉ Player 3pm
Sun 7 February: Semi-final 1 South American team v Winner Match 2, RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player 5:45pm
Mon 8 February: Semi-final 1 - Winner Match 3 v Bayern Munich, RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player 5:30pm
Thurs 11 February: 3rd Place - Loser S-F 1 v Loser S-F 2, RTÉ Player 3pm
Thurs 11 February: Final - Winner S-F 1 v Winner S-F 2, RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player 5:30pm