"That was the pinnacle for Internacional. Everything that the club has today comes from that achievement," were the words of Ceara, a key figure in the Sport Club Internacional side that, ten years ago today, sank FC Barcelona in the International Stadium Yokohama to win the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006.
At that edition of the global showpiece, a Barça squad featuring such luminaries as Ronaldinho, Deco, Rafa Marquez and Andres Iniesta touched down on Japanese soil with one goal in mind: victory. In the dugout was Dutchman Frank Rijkaard, who had restored a winning mentality to the club after several barren years. Their opening game continued that theme, in the shape of a 4-0 dismantling of Mexico's Club America.
"Loads of clubs go to the Club World Cup already thinking about the final or worrying about the European team," recalled ex-right-back Ceara. Indeed, Inter were made to sweat in their semi-final against Egypt's Al Ahly Sporting Club, African champions and eventual third-place winners, before prevailing 2-1.
Thus it would be the South American representatives versus their European counterparts in the final, with Barcelona favourites to clinch a fourth title of the calendar year – having already claimed La Liga, the UEFA Champions League and the Spanish Supercopa. Facing them were a team on a mission, however, one which felt it had nothing to lose and plenty to gain...
"They had no idea we had such an indomitable spirit," remembered Ceara, charged with marking Ronaldinho, who had been crowned FIFA World Player for the previous two years. And it was that spirit that took hold of the encounter in Yokohama, with the Azulgrana dominating proceedings and Inter holding firm – waiting for their chance.
Neither team was able to draw blood until Os Colorados suddenly landed a knockout punch with eight minutes remaining. A high ball into midfield was flicked on twice until seized on by Iarley, later handed the adidas Silver Ball award, who drove forward intelligently before picking out the run of Adriano to his left. The midfielder, brought on shortly before for skipper Fernandao, kept his cool to beat Victor Valdes one-on-one.
Inter had achieved the unthinkable, while Barça had to settle for second place and the adidas Golden Ball and Bronze Ball, awarded to Deco and Ronaldinho respectively.
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