Yokozuna sumo is a Japanese term for the combat style of a champion who fights clean and wins by throwing his opponents to the ground in a full-frontal attack. Yokozuna is the highest rank in sumo, so yokozuna sumo represents the ideal fighting style of the strongest rikishi (sumo wrestler).

Even without Lionel Messi and Neymar, Barcelona displayed wonderful yokozuna sumo as they dominated possession in a 3-0 victory over Asian Champions Guangzhou Evergrande. 

It just so happened that the match in Yokohama’s International Stadium was watched by a real yokozuna. The Mongolian Sho Hakuho is a Barcelona supporter and, in an exclusive chat with FIFA.com, the 69th yokozuna shared his thoughts on the semi-final and his passion for football. 

“When I was a child, I used to play basketball but I follow lots of different sports now. I’ve been watching Barcelona on TV, so I was excited to hear that they were going to play in Japan and decided to come and watch the game,” he said. 

In the first half in Yokohama, Barcelona struggled to deal with Guangzhou’s tenacious defense and quick counter-attacks, and Hakuho agreed there was little to separate the teams when we first spoke to him at half time. “I think it’s been a tight game so far. Barça have the lead, so hopefully they can play in a more relaxed way in the second half.” And it was as if his Catalan heroes had heard the yokozuna’s words, as they pushed on and added another two goals after the break to seal victory.

Hakoho’s favourite player is Messi, so he was naturally disappointed to see the Argentinian miss the semi-final through injury. Turning his attention to Sunday’s decider, the Mongolian had this to say: “I also know River Plate. I hope it’s a cracking final and that Barcelona can finish the year by taking the title. Obviously, I think they will win it.” 

It just remains to be seen if Barça can again show their own brand of yokozuna sumo against the South American champions and take the FIFA Club World Cup crown back to the Camp Nou.