scored two wonder-goals as European champions Barcelona ripped
apart Brazil's Santos 4-0 to win their second Club World Cup in
swashbuckling style on Sunday.
"My players were like artists," purred Barca coach Pep
"Whatever they envisaged in their minds they were able to do
on the pitch. It was an incredible performance."
Santos coach Muricy Ramalho called Barcelona "invincible"
after his team were torn to shreds in Yokohama.
"Barcelona are the greatest team in the world," he told
reporters. "No team can live with them. They're unbeatable at
the moment. Losing 4-0 to them is no disgrace."
Barcelona, who won the title for the first time in Abu Dhabi
in 2009, gave Santos no chance, hopes of a shootout between
Messi and Brazil's teenage sensation Neymar quickly evaporating.
Argentine wizard Messi put Barcelona ahead in the 17th
minute, exquisitely clipping a left-foot shot over goalkeeper
Rafael Cabral after a clever ball from Xavi.
Only seven minutes later it was 2-0 when Xavi himself
latched on to a pinpoint pass from Dani Alves, beating one
defender before smashing the ball home.
Cesc Fabregas hit the post and then stabbed home Barca's
third on the stroke of half-time as the Spanish champions
threatened to run riot in front of a crowd of 68,000.
The former Arsenal midfielder came within a whisker of
another goal moments after the restart, forcing a magnificent
save from Cabral.
Player of the tournament Messi made it 4-0 eight minutes
from time, bursting past Cabral at breath-taking speed to slip
the ball into the net and complete the rout.
"It's beautiful to be world champions but it's a team
effort," said Messi. "We often play like that but because it was
a final it seemed more beautiful."
Asked whether he had adopted a 3-7-0 formation, Guardiola
shrugged: "I don't think we were playing 3-7-0. That's just how
we play. We try to control the midfield and exploit space.
"We wanted to suffocate the supply to Neymar, who we know is
a dangerous player, and to Borges.
"There is no special secret to our success. I am just
blessed to work with such terrific players who want to keep on
winning. They deserve all the credit."
Santos, who lifted their third Libertadores Cup in June
almost 50 years after Pele led them to back-to-back titles in
1962 and 1963, had no answer to Barcelona's brilliance.
"It may have looked easy but it certainly wasn't," said
Barca captain Carles Puyol. "The early goals made it easier for
Puyol sent a 'get-well' message to Spain striker David
Villa, who suffered a sickening leg break in Barca's 4-0
semi-final victory over Qatar's Al Sadd.
"I will give him a [victory] T-shirt," said Puyol. "He
really wanted one. He is not here but he is part of the team and
"We never doubted ourselves and kept their forwards under
control. It was a complete performance."
Neymar looked shell-shocked after the game.
"It's impossible to stop Barcelona," said the 19-year-old
pin-up, biting his tongue. "But we are the second-best team in
the world and for us that is a great reward."
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