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Barcelona and Messi claim world title

The 4-0 scoreline told us something we had long suspected – that Barcelona is the best team in the world. In the final of FIFA’s World Club Championship in Yokohama they saw off the challenge of Santos of Brazil with customary ease.

The match was billed as a showdown between the Argentinian Lionel Messi and the 19 year-old Brazilian prodigy Neymar. They may come from the same continent but Messi has been with Barcelona since adolescence and is the embodiment of the Catalan club’s football philosophy. He made the first significant contribution to the match with a delicate scoop over the Santos keeper for Barcelona’s opening goal.

The match was embarrassingly one-sided throughout. Barcelona led 3-0 at half-time, and spent the second half strolling around wondering what the in-flight meal would be on the way home.

They stirred themselves briefly from their relentless possession football to score a fourth goal. Messi was the scorer again, deftly flicking the ball around the goalkeeper and rolling it into the net.

It indicated something of a chasm in class between the European and South American sides. Or to be fair, it reminded us how far Barcelona are ahead of the rest. They will rue the competition to an extent, because of the serious injury David Villa sustained in the semi-final, but the coach Pep Guardiola will be reassured that the brilliance of his team shows no sign of abating.

Pele had claimed that Neymar was better than Messi. Not for the first time, Pele was proved utterly wrong.

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