Iconic individual shows at the Club World Cup

  • Seventeen FIFA Club World Cups have taken place

  • We highlight exceptional individual performances from outfield players

  • Kaka, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo feature


Manchester United 1-3 Vasco da Gama Group stage, Brazil 2000 The English titans, fresh from arguably the greatest season in their history, controversially dropped out of the prestigious FA Cup, the oldest existing football competition in the world, to focus on becoming the maiden FIFA Club World Cup champions. In their second outing, United’s dream was ended mercilessly killed by ‘The Animal’ and ‘Shortie’. Edmundo and Romario had gone from being friends to foes – their conflicts were over penalty-taking duties, top-scorer awards, foot-volley wars, women and a ridiculing caricature on the toilet door of a bar the latter owned – to team-mates again, though the jury was well and truly out on whether they’d be competing against one another or coexisting effectively. They were soon answered. Edmundo, always ready to pounce, intercepted a limp Gary Neville back-pass and selflessly nicked the ball sideways to present Romario with a tap-in. After another Neville mistake enabled Romario to make it 2-0, Edmundo scored what remains, surely, the most breathtaking goal in Club World Cup history in front of 75,000 at the Maracana.

Vasco's Edmundo skins Manchester United's Mikael Silveste at the FIFA Club World Cup Brazil 2000.

FIFA Club World Championship Brazil 2000™

Club classic: Vasco shred Manchester United

16 Oct 2018

“I love that goal. It was a piece of genius that only a few players from each generation would have had the skill to pull off, and only a few players in history would have had the imagination to think of.” Diego Maradona

Mohamed Aboutrika

Al Ahly 2-1 America Third-place play-off, Japan 2006 The Mexican powerhouses were the big favourites for bronze, but they found the pride of Giza unplayable. Aboutrika broke the deadlock with a stunning free-kick, only for Cuauhtemoc Blanco to set up Salvador Cabanas for an equaliser. Aboutrika then cleverly created two chances but when they were wasted, he elected to settle the contest himself, playing a one-two with Flavio and burying a fine, low shot past Guilermo Ochoa.

“We finished last a year ago. Now we’ve finished third. We really wanted to give our tremendous supporters something to be proud of, and I think this is a big achievement because Mexican teams are very strong.” Mohamed Aboutrika

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 17: (L - R) Emad Moteab, Coach Manuel Jose and Mohamed Aboutrika celebrate after defeating Club America by 2-1 during the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006 third place play-off match between Ahly Sporting Club and Club America at the International Stadium Yokohama December 17, 2006 in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)


Boca Juniors 2-4 AC Milan Final, Japan 2007 From the moment the action kicked off, the Brazilian began terrorising the Argentinians with his slalom charges from midfield. Despite being heavily patrolled, Kaka cleverly set up two goals and netted another following a trademark dash. Milan became the first Europeans to win the tournament after Manchester United, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Barcelona failed, and their golden boy became a world champion with both national team and club in the same venue: the International Stadium in Yokohama. The following day Kaka finished above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

AC Milan players celebrate with the trophy after defeating
Boca Juniors in the final at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2007 in
Yokohama, 16 December 2007.

FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2018™

2007 Club World Cup Final: Boca Juniors 2-4 AC Milan

8 Dec 2012

“He always wants the ball. If a match lasted five hours, he’d still be running at the end of it. And when he runs, nobody can get the ball off him. Kaka is a dream to coach.” Carlo Ancelotti

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 16:  Kaka and Filippo Inzaghi of AC Milan kiss the trophy after winning the FIFA Club World Cup final against Boca Juniors and AC Milan at  the International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2007 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.  (Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi

Santos 0-4 Barcelona Final, Japan 2011 It was billed as clash between the sport’s best player and the pretender to this throne. Helpless Neymar could only watch on in awe as Lionel Messi delivered a show for the ages. Following a jaw-dropping touch from Xavi, the Argentinian executed a sumptuous dink over goalkeeper Rafael to break the deadlock. Messi did fantastically to stay on his feet and retain possession, before producing a brilliant back-heel in the lead-up to Barça’s third goal, before masterfully competing what remains the biggest victory in a Club World Cup final.

“The best player was Xavi. I thought he was sensational. Him (Messi)? He doesn’t count. Awards should be for human beings.” Dani Alves

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 18:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona with the Adidas Golden Ball Award, Neymar of Santos with the Adidas Bronze Ball Award and Xavi of Barcelona with the Adidas Silver Award after the FIFA Club World Cup Final match between Santos and Barcelona at the Yokohama International Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid 4-2 Kashima Antlers (AET) Final, Japan 2016 Los Blancos were behind and struggling to subdue their all-action adversaries until a firm, low Ronaldo penalty sent the thriller to extra-time. There, his employed elusive movement and a fine finish to put Madrid ahead, before an impeccably-taken goal sealed the trophy. The Portuguese remains the only player to score a hat-trick in a Club World Cup final.

“I had won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the EURO, but they always expect more from Cristiano. This is the perfect end to a spectacular year. I couldn’t have imagined it going so well: scoring three goals in the final, helping Real Madrid win another trophy, and winning these awards. I’d like to thank my team-mates – none of this would be possible without them.” Cristiano Ronaldo

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 18:  Goldon boot winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid after the FIFA Club World Cup final match between Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers at International Stadium Yokohama on December 18, 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Gareth Bale

Kashima Antlers 1-3 Real Madrid Semi-finals, UAE 2018 The record 13-time European champions needed someone to fill the astronomical void left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus, and up stepped the Welshman. The Antlers had been on top when Bale played and one-two with Marcelo and finished with unerring accuracy. The Madrid No11 then combined awareness and speed to capitalise upon a defensive mix-up and double the lead, before a magnificent finish saw him complete an 11-minute treble.

“I don’t like to single out individuals, but how can I not? Bale was sensational. He did everything, he tore them apart. The goals, the movement, the performance all over. He did everything.” Santiago Solari

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 19: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been converted to black and white) Gareth Bale of Real Madrid carries the match ball after the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final match between Kashima Antlers and Real Madrid at Zayed Sports City Stadium on December 19, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)