Barcelona aiming for 3rd Club World Cup title
Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and 2011 and the Spanish league leaders will be clear favorites to continue Europe’s domination
Lionel Messi and Neymar will spearhead Barcelona’s attempt to win a third Club World Cup title when the European champions arrive in Japan next week.
Luis Enrique’s squad will play its first game on December 17 in Yokohama, just five days after hosting Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league.
The tournament begins on Thursday in Yokohama. Barcelona and Copa Libertadores winners River Plate are favorites to reach the Dec. 20 final.
Barcelona won the tournament in 2009 and 2011 and the Spanish league leaders will be clear favorites to continue Europe’s domination.
the host country, returns to Japan for the first time since 2012. It was hosted in Morocco the previous two years.
Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, who began his career at River Plate, says the Spanish giants won’t be taking anything for granted.
“It’s a very important tournament for us,” Mascherano said. “Everyone assumes that we and River Plate are the favorites to reach the final, but we’ve got to play our semifinals first.”
Oceania representative Auckland City is returning to the tournament for the seventh time. They begin their campaign on Dec. 10 against Japanese champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Mexico’s Club America is representing CONCACAF and faces Asian Football Confederation champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Dec. 13 in Osaka.
CAF champions TP Mazembe takes the winner of the Auckland City-Sanfrecce Hiroshima match on Dec. 13.
Barcelona and River Plate enter the tournament at the semifinal stage.