JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Josep Guardiola is happy to call Manchester City the best team in the world this year, but is he the best team of all time? This discussion will have to wait years, if not decades.
“I don’t know at the moment,” Guardiola said after City’s 4-0 victory over Fluminense on Friday, en route to a first Club World Cup win and a fifth domestic and international trophy in 2023.
Guardiola is the first manager to win FIFA club titles with three different teams and compares City’s standing to that of the great Barcelona team he led to Spanish, European and world championships in 2011. did.
“If people are talking about your team 25 years from now, 30 years from now, that means you’re a really good team,” he said. “Today was good. We were the best team in the world.”
I have to wait for the results of the English Premier League to make a decision regarding this time at Man City. investigation of suspicion financial misconduct He stayed with the club for almost 10 years until 2018.
A hearing is scheduled for later next year to examine 115 charges against the club over its first nine seasons since being taken over by the Abu Dhabi royal family. A verdict is not expected until 2025, when City will take part in the first ever revamped Club World Cup, which will feature 32 teams.
Guardiola’s side are arguably the best team in Europe this year, and they were too good for the dominant Fluminense side. Unfortunately, the ball rebounded and within 27 minutes, there was no room for the first South American champions to be in a two-goal hole.
“We have been preparing all year for the (Copa) Libertadores, but not for the Club World Cup,” said Fluminense coach Fernando Diniz, who won the continental title seven weeks ago. He talked about a team that was physically exhausted by the acquisition.
City took the lead after just 40 seconds and it was a mostly tense game. Julián Alvarez was quickest to track down the rebound of Nathan Ake’s shot that hit the post.
Fluminense captain Nino’s own goal sealed the match long before Phil Foden converted Alvarez’s pass into the net in the 72nd minute. Alvarez scored again in the 88th.
It was a costly victory for City, but it gave Europe their 16th title out of 17 FIFA continental championships.
Main midfielder Rodri left the stadium limping with his right knee heavily bandaged after being tackled violently by Fluminense substitute Alexander.
Guardiola said the incident, which forced Rodri to be substituted, was “horrifying”, but insisted it was unclear the severity of the injury. City’s losses this season have usually come when the Spaniard has missed games.
Anger erupted after the match when City captain Kyle Walker confronted Fluminense players, including veteran defender Felipe Melo.
Rodri then took part in the celebrations with the trophy and received the award as the best player of the tournament.
Rodri’s form gave City their second easy win in four calm days in Saudi Arabia, despite being without injured superstars Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne.they missed too City won the semi-final Tuesday’s match against Urawa Reds.
Their expected absence may help explain the roughly 4,000 empty seats out of the 52,601-capacity crowd at King Abdullah Sports City, the stadium in Jeddah scheduled to be used for the 2034 World Cup. unknown.
Guardiola became the first manager to win the Club World Cup with three different teams. He led Barcelona to titles in 2009 and 2011, and led them to the Champions League under outgoing manager Jupp Heynckes.
With a handshake and an arm on his shoulder, Guardiola comforted Dinis, congratulating him on his record fourth Club World Cup win as manager, joining Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 and Bayern Munich in 2013. We walked across the street and celebrated quietly.
Fluminense started with six players born in the 1980s, but there was a backlash on Thursday that was perceived as disrespectful when British media reportedly drew attention to the age of the veteran squad. Walker, 33, is City’s oldest player in the starting lineup and was born in May 1990.
The last combined club to play in the domestic third tier until 1999.
Since then, City has become the club with the highest declared annual income in world football and banking. $890 million He paid an annual salary of $530 million for the 2022-23 season when they won the treble. City then added the UEFA Super Cup in August.
Fluminense expects to make $74 million in revenue this year, but the difference in wealth and purchasing power will be evident on the field, with both teams facing off at the restarted Club World Cup in June-July 2025. It is likely that it will expand further.
“I don’t think it’s just a lack of money. That’s too simple,” Dinis said in translated comments, adding, “But money is also important.”
The 32-team tournament to be held in the United States in 2025 will feature 12 European teams and six South American teams, with each team potentially winning tens of millions of dollars in FIFA prize money.
In the third-place match held earlier in Jeddah, African champion Al Ahly (Egypt) defeated Asian champion Urawa of Japan 4-2. These teams will also participate in his expanded 2025 edition.
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