Messi can deliver Barça's six of the best

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The Independent Football

When Barack Obama went to collect his Nobel Peace Prize this month, protesters held up a banner reading, "You've won it, now earn it." When Barcelona play Estudiantes this afternoon in the World Club Championship final they could easily do so under the same slogan in reverse – "You've earned it, now win it."

The unofficial best club side in the world can become the official World Club Champions by beating Argentina's Copa Libertadores winners in Abu Dhabi and so complete football's greatest ever grand slam – six trophies in one year.

No team has ever won every competition entered in a year and after adding the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup – Spain's Community Shield – to last season's treble, they can win the one trophy they have never won.

They have lost the World Club Championship final twice before, against Sao Paulo in 1992 (when it was the Intercontinental Cup) and Internacional in 2006 and today against Estudiantes will be without Andres Iniesta who has a thigh strain. But Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start up front with either Thierry Henry or Pedro.

The youngster Pedro scored in Barcelona's 3-1 semi-final win to mean at just 22 he has now scored in every single competition for the side despite this being his first season.

His form is one of the major reasons why Barca's interest in taking Manchester City winger Robinho on anything other than a loan deal has cooled considerably.

Spotlight on...Jermaine Pennant

Jermaine Pennant joined Zaragoza with hopes of getting his career back on track but now finds himself in the bottom three and without a manager. Zaragoza play Real Madrid tonight with Real hoping to close the gap at the top of La Liga to two points. Zaragoza supporters upset over the sacking of Marcelino want former club favourite and current Brighton manager Gus Poyet to take over. Pennant, meanwhile, comes up against Cristiano Ronaldo who has already scored 12 goals for Real despite an injury disrupted start to his Bernabeu career. Pennant said: "I played at the Nou Camp with Liverpool but never at the Bernabeu. When I look at their side I just think wow, everyone is outstanding. There was never any doubt that Cristiano was going to be successful."

Everybody's talking about...Portugal's big match

Benfica could open up a five-point lead over Porto by beating them in Europe's game of the weekend in Portugal tomorrow. The champions are wobbling and Benfica, inspired by the magic of Argentine winger Angel Di Maria, and the goals of his compatriot, Javier Saviola, are revitalised. Saviola has scored nine in his last 12 matches with his nightmare two years on the bench for Real Madrid a distant memory. The 28-year-old chose Benfica over several Premier League suitors and is enjoying his best football since his first three seasons at Barcelona. Di Maria, 21, who Real Madrid almost signed to replace Robinho 18 months ago, could have had a hat-trick in Benfica's midweek Europa League win over AEK Athens, scoring twice and hitting the bar. Both players will be a threat to a Porto side who, having won the last four titles, have now slipped to third in the table.

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