Auckland City eye up Real Madrid at Fifa Club World Cup in UAE
Oceania club champions Auckland City could face European giants Real Madrid at December's Fifa Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Making their ninth appearance at the tournament, City were drawn on the same half of the bracket as Champions League winners Real - potentially featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema - but will have to win two matches first before getting to the once-in-a-lifetime matchup.
Auckland City will face UAE champions Al Jazira in the playoff round, with a quarterfinal clash against the to-be-determined Asian champions up next.
Real Madrid, along with the to-be-determined South American champions start the December 6-16 tournament in the UAE cities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain at the semifinal stage.
The other quarterfinal will pit CONCACAF champions Pachuca of Mexico against the African champions with the winners to meet the South American champions in the last four.
The tournament, organised by Fifa, has been dominated by European teams since it was started in its current form in 2005, reflecting the fact that the best South American, Asian and African players are based in Europe rather than their own continents.
Nine of the past 12 tournaments, including the last four, have been won by European sides with the other three all going to teams from Brazil - Sao Paulo, Internacional and Corinthians.
Auckland City have made eight previous appearances at the CWC, with a 3-2-9 record in 14 matches. Their best finish was a third placing in 2014 in Morocco, losing to Pope Francis' team San Lorenzo in extra time in the semifinals. City have lost their first matches six times, including in the playoff round in five of the last six editions.
Waitakere United is the only other New Zealand club to play at the CWC, twice losing in the playoff round.
The AFC Champions League has reached the semifinal stage with Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Persepolis (Iran), Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan) and Shanghai SIPG (China) the remaining sides.
Barcelona (Ecuador), Gremio (Brazil) and Argentine sides River Plate and Lanus have reached the South American Libertadores Cup semifinals.
USM Alger (Algeria), Wydad Casablanca (Morocco), Al Ahly (Egypt) and Etoile de Sahel (Tunisia) are the last four in the African Champions League.