Wanderer hopes it’s second time lucky with Ronaldo


Daniel Mullen missed out on marking Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2008 Club World Cup in Japan, so the Wanderers defender is hoping it’s second time lucky in Morocco over the coming week.

Mullen has fond memories of his previous showing in the Club World Cup, scoring for the Reds in their opening match against New Zealand side Waitakere six years ago in Japan. 

Adelaide was beaten in the quarter-final by Gamba Osaka 1-0, missing the chance for a shot at Manchester United and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

“It was early on in my career so I guess I didn’t really understand how much of a big deal it was,” Mullen told Wanderers TV. 

“I was lucky enough to score  in the first game against Waitakere and it was a special moment for me because up until then I hadn’t scored for the club. 

“It was my professional goal and it was in a big tournament.”

The Wanderers have spent their first day in Morocco, checking out a bit of the city before their date with destiny against Mexico’s Cruz Azul on Sunday (AEDT) in the 2014 Club World Cup. 

Victory over Cruz Azul at Complexe Sportif Prince Moulay Abdallah in Rabat on Sunday morning (AEDT)  would give the Wanderers a game against Real Madrid, and Mullen would finally get his crack at Ronaldo.

Wanderers were given their first day since touching down off, coach Tony Popovic giving his squad the chance to refresh after the long flight.

The took the opportunity to walk around the city, visiting a local mosque and the burial site of some of the countries previous kings.

“It’s the first time I’ve been to Africa….we had the morning off so we had a beautiful walk around the city and it’s really nice,” Mullen said.

“It’s sort of got a European feel to it if you look at some of the buildings. It’s something I haven’t experienced before and the terrain is different than a lot of  places I’ve been too.”

While the Wanderers have won just one of their last 11 competitive matches, Mullen believes there is expectation on the side to perform as champions of Asia.

This won’t be the first experience of the tournament for the tough-tackling right-back, who took part with Adelaide United back in 2008.

“It’s a little bit  different. It was great to be there with Adelaide but we qualified as runners up, this time we’re the champions of Asia and the competition as a whole will look at us differently.

“We’re up against Cruz Azul who we know will be tough. I think there’s going to be a bit more expectation on us which is a good thing because we deserve that.

“We’ve played well in the Asian Champions League. We’ve fought hard for so long to get to the final and come out as winners.

“It’s deserving for the boys and the club as a whole.”