YOKOHAMA, Japan, (Reuters) – Barcelona are still buzzing from their clasico victory over Real Madrid as they bid to complete a perfect year by winning the Club World Cup, midfielder Andres Iniesta said yesterday.
Beating Real Madrid 3-1 at the Bernabeu last weekend to go top of La Liga, the perfect preparation for winning the inter-continental trophy for the second time in three years.
“We’re still buzzing from the win at Real,” Iniesta said before today’s semi-final against Asian champions Al Sadd of Qatar.
“It has given us a real confidence boost and the spirit in the team is fantastic. We won La Liga and the Champions League and we’re 100 percent committed to completing the set.
“We respect our opponents but we want to take the trophy home to complete a perfect year and gives ourselves a wonderful Christmas present.” The Catalan giants captured the Club World Cup in 2009 in Abu Dhabi by beating Argentina’s Estudiantes in the final but lost to Brazil’s Internacional in 2006 in Japan. “We have some bad memories from five years ago,” said Iniesta. “It was a bitter pill to swallow but we’ve been able to turn those negative feelings into positives.
“Losing to Internacional made us a stronger team and we’ll show that this time.
“Our motivation is sky high after beating Real but the Spanish league isn’t won in December. We’re fully focused on winning the Club World Cup now.” Brazil’s Santos await in Sunday’s final after the South American champions beat J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol 3-1 in the first semi-final in Toyota. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola insisted his side had no unfinished business in Japan despite getting ambushed in the 2006 final.
“We are not here for revenge,” he said. “Revenge is never a good motivation. For the past year and a half, Barca have passed every test and come through every challenge thrown at us.
“We have had to come through a very tough Champions League competition to get here so we want to leave everything out there on the pitch and win the trophy.
“It won’t be easy. Anything can happen over 90 minutes of football and Al Sadd could end up in the final instead of us if we’re not right on our game.”
Guardiola admitted, however, that his biggest problem was getting his players to adjust to the time difference after their 13-hour flight.
“Some of them are waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning still,” said Guardiola. “But you just have to deal with jet lag. We will be fine by tomorrow’s semi-final.”
A trio of players, led by midfielder Xavi, blew the cobwebs away with a two-hour trip to Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto — not to look at temples, but simply to ride the Bullet Train.
“It’s a rare opportunity to play on this stage so we want to savour it,” Iniesta added. “We will need to put in a proper shift for 90 minutes and be at our maximum level to win.”