Messi puts Barça on top of the world
Barcelona yesterday made official what everyone already knows – they are the best team in the world.
Pep Guardiola's side thrashed Brazil's Santos 4-0 in the final of the Club World Cup in Japan, and the coach was quick to praise the dominant display he had just witnessed. "My players were like artists," he said. "Whatever they envisaged in their minds they were able to do on the pitch. It was an incredible performance."
Lionel Messi scored the first and last goals of the rout, both with his usual unerring composure when faced with a one-on-one situation – firstly scooping the ball over Santos goalkeeper Rafael Cabral with a deft chip after 17 minutes, and then with eight minutes remaining he glided past the hapless Cabral to pass the ball into an empty net. Xavi and Cesc Fabregas also got on the scoresheet.
While Barça brought home another piece of silverware, Real Madrid went three points clear at the top of La Liga before the winter break by winning 6-2 at Seville. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to take his 2011 La Liga tally to a record 43, surpassing his great rival Messi's 42 in the 2010 calendar year.
In Italy, Juventus maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 victory against Novara in Turin yesterday. In Germany, Bayern Munich remain three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after beating Cologne 3-0, despite playing with 10 men for most of the match after Franck Ribéry's 33rd-minute dismissal.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners given boost in hunt for Marco Reus, why Wenger signed Gabriel Paulista, no move for Cheick Tiote
Chelsea injury news: Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic could join Diego Costa on the sidelines for crucial Manchester City clash
Australian Open 2015: Thanks to Amelie Mauresmo, it's no longer Andy Murray against the world
Fantasy Premier League: Invest in Arsenal to climb the ranks in Gameweek 23
Manchester United sign former Manchester City prospect Sadiq El Fitouri on advice from Phil Neville and Paul Scholes
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account