YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) - Dimitar Berbatov is sick and will not play in Manchester United's Club World Cup match against Gamba Osaka on Thursday, while Wayne Rooney is a doubt after picking up an injury in training.
Coach Sir Alex Ferguson said record-signing Berbatov picked up a virus on the plane journey from London and has been in bed since they arrived on Monday, providing more ammunition for critics who think the trip is a waste of time.
"Berbatov won't play on Thursday. He has been ill since we arrived after picking up a virus. He is not well at the moment," he said.
"Rooney was injured in training on Tuesday but we hope he will be fit. Other than that everyone else is fit."
While Berbatov will be missing, Ferguson said the veteran trio of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville would all play, as will Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Giggs, Neville and Scholes will all play. They have played a lot of big games and their experience will be vital," he said.
Ferguson lamented that having such a strong squad here -- 23 players, almost all of whom are internationals -- created headaches, as it was difficult for him to leave 12 on the sidelines.
He said he had never had such depth in a squad. "It is our best squad in my time at Manchester United," he said.
"We have 23 players here and only one lacks experience, and that's goalkeeper Ben Amos (who replaced the injured third choice goalkeeper Ben Foster).
"The rest are high quality and mostly international players. It is difficult because I have to manage those players.
"To put an international in the stands can be regarded as an insult and for me it is embarrassing to ask a top player not to play."
Ferguson has defended the trek to Japan for the tournament of continental champions in the middle of the Premier League season, and again hit out at the critics.
"The criticism is unfortunate," he said. "The most important thing for us is that we can win something in December and that will be a great mid-season boost."
|Toronto FC 2 Houston Dynamo 0: Altidore at the double for in-form MLS hosts|
|Toure: Hopefully United attack more next season|
|Conte can´t guarantee Hazard stay as Madrid circle Chelsea star|
|Allegri: Juventus´ draw with Atalanta the perfect preparation for Monaco tie|
|Too much, too soon? - Lampard questions Guardiola´s demands at Man City|
|Atalanta 2 Juventus 2: Last-gasp Buffon error proves costly|
|Cardiff City 0 Newcastle United 2: Atsu and Hayden keep title dreams intact|
|Mbappe will go to Arsenal but Henry comparisons premature, says Gunners legend Pires|
|Koeman: Everton need more players with Lukaku´s mentality|
|Tuchel ushers Dortmund back to the well after Bayern triumph|
|Conte impressed by ´four or five´ of Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup winners|
|Pochettino sets Spurs sights higher than finishing above Arsenal|
|Tottenham to move to Wembley for 2017-18|
|Simeone not interested in Jese´s Griezmann jibe|
|Griezmann wouldn´t get in Real Madrid team, says Jese|
|Praise for Lukaku but Chelsea boss Conte happy with Costa|
|United ´miss belief´ but Mourinho gunning for top honours next season|
|Manchester derby draw changes nothing for Liverpool - Klopp|
|Ronaldo so good he could play anywhere - Zidane|
|Barcelona boss Luis Enrique expects Neymar to keep his cool|
|Rooney in midfield, Mourinho and Tuanzebe at centre-back - Manchester United boss assesses injury cr|
|Madrid rotation policy not unjust - Zidane|
|Ancelotti insists he has full support at Bayern|
|Iniesta misses training ahead of Espanyol v Barcelona derby|
|Sanchez trolled by Leicester defender Huth over throw-in controversy|
|Thiago determined to win Champions League after pledging future to Bayern|
|Sanchez throw-in reaction not embarrassing, insists Wenger|
|Lovren pens long-term deal at Liverpool|
|Arsenal scouted Alli before Tottenham move, claims Wenger|
|Thiago signs new Bayern Munich deal|
|Mourinho and I often speak, reveals Evra|
|Barcelona and Real Madrid would find Premier League tough, says Klopp|
|My heart is in Italy, says Chelsea boss Conte|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Barrios hat-trick ensures Gremio stay unbeaten, River preserve perfect rec|
|Ancelotti future not discussed – Rummenigge|
|Mourinho: City will finish in the top four|
|Sevilla boss Sampaoli to be offered Argentina job, confirms AFA|
|Kovacic content at Real Madrid – agent|
|Bilic hails reported West Ham target Sturridge|
|Ramos open to presidential role at Real Madrid|
|Guardiola laments City´s ageing full-backs|
|Mourinho: Aguero very smart in Fellaini dismissal|
|Kompany: United never made it difficult for City|
|Carrick sees point gained for United in Manchester derby draw|
|Manchester City 0 Manchester United 0: Mourinho´s 10 men hold on after Fellaini madness|
|Sevilla 2 Celta Vigo 1: Ben Yedder turns up the heat on Atleti|
|Retiring Lahm wants to have fun in final weeks of career|
|That´s the luck you need - Bender plays down incredible Pokal clearance|
|Rashford starts Manchester derby for United, Gabriel Jesus on City bench|
|´Overrated´ Pogba and Balotelli have been lucky, says Cassano|
|Atletico Madrid not afraid of Real Madrid, Torres claims|
|Chelsea captain Terry wanted at Bournemouth|
|Schneiderlin fires ´revenge´ warning to Chelsea|
|Dortmund-themed cast cheers Bartra as recovery continues|
|Barton betting ban was ´shortest possible sanction´ - FA|
|Eriksen insists Tottenham can still win Premier League|
|Liverpool confirm Gerrard will take over Under-18s|
|Albania fined by FIFA after crowd unrest in Italy|
|Bartomeu to stand trial over Neymar transfer after appeal is rejected|
|Sanchez the only Arsenal player who would get in Tottenham team, says Henry|
|Clement confident of Swansea survival|
|Aguero bemoans City´s bad luck in ´tough year´|
|Barcelona tried to lower Suarez price after Chiellini bite, claims ex-Liverpool CEO|
|Allegri refusing to let Monaco be a distraction in Juve´s title bid|
|Being benched not a problem for Aguero|
|Bayern Munich sign Coman from Juventus for €35m|
|Cavani, Mbappe and Griezmann among nominees for UNFP awards|
|Roma stalwart De Rossi reflects on ´wrong´ career choices|
|Pep didn´t do his homework on English football, Grant claims|
|Verratti: I´d be angry if I played for Monaco|
|Sakho injury could be cruciate damage - Allardyce|
|Guardiola: I´m a better manager since joining Manchester City|
|Barcelona to report Malaga president to anti-violence commission after controversial Twitter post|
|Go fourth and prosper? Guardiola and Mourinho wrestling to lift Manchester horizons|
|Liverpool present new kit and crest to mark 125th anniversary|
|Manchester United captain Rooney vows to ´prove people wrong´ amid talk over future|
|Eto´o reveals Mourinho´s Champions League final masterstroke|
|Serbia well on the way to Russia 2018, but Stankovic highlights domestic difficulties|
|Mourinho unhappy with Smalling, Jones but insists defenders have Manchester United future|
|Pachuca 1 Tigres UANL 0 (2-1 agg): Alonso´s men win Champions League title|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Brawl erupts after Palmeiras beat Penarol|
|Madrid star Isco: This could be the best form of my career|
|Mascherano scores first Barcelona goal... in his 319th appearance|
|James: Five cup finals in LaLiga for Real Madrid|
|Zidane hails phenomenal Isco as Madrid stay level with Barca|
|Beating Bayern like this is ´madness´ - Tuchel|
|Moyes: Sunderland deserved something against Middlesbrough|
|Battle-scarred Arsenal star Sanchez takes to social media following last-gasp win|
|Sakho injury could bring end to Palace loan spell - Allardyce|
|Campbell expects extra ´spice´ in crucial north London derby|
|The challenge is to keep going - Pochettino delighted as Spurs hunt Chelsea|
|The target is clear - Wenger confident of Arsenal´s top four chances|