European champion Barcelona beat Brazilian club Santos 4-0 yesterday to win soccer’s FIFA Club World Cup for a second time in three years.
Lionel Messi got two goals in Yokohama, Japan, with Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas also scoring for the Spanish club.
“We are extremely happy and our performance, especially in the first half, was very satisfactory,” Agence France-Presse cited Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola as saying.
The result gives Europe a fifth straight winner in the annual competition, which is contested by the champions of each continent’s soccer federation. Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol also qualified this year’s as winner of the host nation’s J League.
Brazilian teams won the first three editions of the tournament, with AC Milan, Manchester United and Inter Milan joining Barcelona as champions since.
Yesterday’s victory gives Barcelona a 13th title in 3 1/2 years since Guardiola was appointed, including two Champions League successes and three La Liga crowns.
Messi gave Barcelona a 17th-minute lead with a chip over the goalkeeper, after which Xavi then doubled the advantage seven minutes later.
Barcelona took a three-goal lead into halftime as Fabregas got his goal just before the interval. The Spaniards continued to create chances in the second half and Messi completed the win when he took the ball around the goalkeeper on 82 minutes.
Asia champion Al-Sadd of Qatar took third spot with a 5-3 win on penalty kicks against Kashiwa following a 0-0 draw.