Palmeiras star Piquerez highlights 'very strong' Chelsea player ahead of Club World Cup final

Palmeiras midfielder Joaquin Piquerez said he is confident that their defenders can physically compete with Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku in Saturday’s Club World Cup final.

Prior to the semifinal win over Al Hilal on Wednesday, Lukaku had failed to score in six games since January.

The 28-year-old eventually scored his first goal in 2022 against the Saudi Arabian club, and it was enough to send the Blues into the second Club World Cup final in the club’s history.

Despite his recent dry patch, Lukaku is obviously still a proven goalscorer whose physical ability can cause problems for defenders.

Piquerez, however, believes his teammates in the defensive line will be able to cope with the Belgium international.

Photo by Mohammad Karamali/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“Everyone knows Lukaku, knows his game and his style — a very strong player, who likes to go toe-to-toe,” the Uruguay international said in the press conference ahead of the game (via Brazilian outlet Terra).

“[But] our defenders are also strong, they are aggressive.

“It will be a very important match.

“I am extremely confident in our game, our work, our teammates, the work of the whole team to fight in this final that is 90 minutes, no doubt we will try to get the title.”

The Palmeiras midfielder also admitted that he kept an eye on Chelsea’s Champions League-winning campaign last season, as well as their playing style under Thomas Tuchel.

Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

“Chelsea are one of the biggest teams in the world,” he explained.

“They play the Premier League, which in my opinion, is the strongest and most competitive league in the world.

“In the last Champions League, I followed them a lot.

“They have a way of playing with three defenders, tactically it’s a similar game to ours, they also have an idea of scoring with two fast strikers, a very strong centre-forward and a goalscorer.

“Anyway, we have to study, work, to contain their strengths and their qualities.”

Piquerez specifically mentioned Lukaku and his physical prowess.

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A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.