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Club World Cup: Robinho, Elkeson aim to upstage Messi, Suarez

The 2015 Club World Cup begins on Thursday, with seven teams from seven different confederations battling it out for the title in Japan.

All eyes will be on the megastars of Champions League winners Barcelona – most notably their fearsome forward trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, if the Brazilian recovers from a groin injury to feature.

There will be plenty more talent on display in the Far East, however, and here are five key players to keep a look out for.

Robinho – Guangzhou Evergrande

Robinho joined Guangzhou from AC Milan in June 2015 as one of Luiz Felipe Scolari's first signings since his appointment as manager – linking up with his former boss again as well as Paulinho, having all worked together in the Brazilian national team set-up.

The 31-year-old trickster will be looking to wave his magic wand on the world stage, having previously showcased his talent with the likes of Milan, Brazil, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Santos.

Javier Saviola – River Plate

Saviola is back where it all began for him at River Plate, emerging there as one of the brightest prospects in world football from 1998 to 2001.

The Argentine striker re-joined his first club in June following a disappointing spell with Italian side Hellas Verona, but is hoping to recapture the form that saw him burst onto the scene and earn a move to Barcelona.

Now 33, he would welcome a reunion with the Blaugrana should River Plate and the Spanish giants progress to the final.

Oribe Peralta – Club America

Peralta became the most expensive transfer in Mexican history when he joined Club America for $10million in May 2014, and has proved he was worth the money with 22 goals in 58 league appearances.

The 31-year-old also has a decent goal-to-game ratio for Mexico, netting 21 times in his 45 caps, and famously scored twice in the Olympic Gold Medal match as his country saw off a Brazil side featuring Neymar at London 2012.

He will, therefore, be aiming to create a sense of deja vu, as his side could face Barca in the semi-finals if they beat Guangzhou in the quarters.

Elkeson – Guangzhou Evergrande

Robinho is not the only Brazilian forward to keep an eye on, however, as Elkeson looks to continue his impressive goal record in Japan.

The 26-year-old joined Guangzhou from Botafogo three years ago and has scored a whopping 59 times in 72 appearances for the Chinese side. 

Douglas – Sanfrecce Hiroshima

The final player on the list is Douglas, who will be hoping that his goalscoring exploits can fire local side Sanfrecce Hiroshima to glory.

He is on loan from Tokushima Vortis, but has made the most of the opportunity presented to him with 21 strikes in 33 appearances.

The 27-year-old will feature in the play-off against New Zealand side Auckland City on Thursday, with CAF champions TP Mazembe lying in wait for the winners.