Dimitar Berbatov will miss Manchester United's Club World Cup semi-final with Gamba Osaka today after picking up a virus. Berbatov has been unable to train since his arrival in Japan and the 27-year-old was absent yesterday as United went through their paces at the Nissan Stadium.
It means Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney, who is expected to recover from a minor knock in time to play, should be paired up front as the Red Devils look to become the first English team to win the competition in its newly expanded format.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson would not confirm his full starting XI, but he did reveal that Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville would be included, along with Paul Scholes, who will start for the first time since undergoing knee surgery at the end of September.
Cristiano Ronaldo also starts. The prospective world player of the year has inherited the mantle enjoyed by the former United star David Beckham, who is such a popular figure in this part of the world, and is guaranteed an enthusiastic welcome in the venue for the 2002 World Cup Final.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has confirmed Ben Foster is already back in light training after breaking a finger last week. Foster was ruled out of the Japan trip after suffering the injury – the latest in a series of setbacks for the England international – last Thursday.
However, the damage is not too serious and Foster should be back in full training by the time United return home next Monday.