“My players were like artists,” said Guardiola, the Barcelona coach. “Whatever they envisaged in their minds they were able to do on the pitch. It was an incredible performance.”
Lionel Messi put Barcelona ahead in the 17th minute, exquisitely clipping a left-foot shot over the goalkeeper Rafael Cabral after a clever ball from Xavi Hernández. Seven minutes later Xavi gathered a pinpoint pass from Dani Alves, beating one defender before smashing the ball home.
Cesc Fábregas hit the post and then stabbed home Barça’s third on half‑time as the Spanish giants, winners in 2009, threatened to run riot in front of a crowd of 68,000 in Yokohama. The former Arsenal midfielder came within a whisker of another goal moments after the restart, forcing a magnificent save from Cabral.
Messi, the player of the tournament, made it 4-0 eight minutes from time, bursting past Cabral to slip the ball into the net and complete the rout. Santos, who lifted their third Libertadores Cup in June almost 50 years after Pelé led them to back-to-back titles in 1962 and 1963, had no answer to Barcelona’s brilliance.
“It may have looked easy but it certainly wasn’t,” said the Barcelona captain, Carles Puyol, after his side became the first to win the Club World Cup twice since it became a seven-team Fifa competition.
“The early goals made it easier for us,” said Puyol. He dedicated the victory to the Spain striker David Villa, who broke his leg in Barça’s 4-0 semi-final win over Qatar’s Al Sadd. “We never doubted ourselves and kept their forwards under control. It was a complete performance.”
The Santos coach, Muricy Ramalho, said of the victors: “No team can live with them. They’re unbeatable at the moment. Losing 4-0 to them is no disgrace.”
Brazil’s Neymar said: “They are the best team in the world, with fantastic players. But we are the second-best team in the world and for us that is a great reward.”