The FIFA Club World Cup is an international men's association football competition organised by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The tournament officially assigns the world title. The competition was first contested in 2000 as the FIFA Club World Championship. It was not held between 2001 and 2004 due to a combination of factors, most importantly the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. Since 2005, the competition has been held every year, and has been hosted by Brazil, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. The FIFA Club World Cup's prestige is perceived quite differently in different parts of the football world; while it is widely regarded as the most distinguished club level trophy in South America, it struggles to attract interest in most of Europe.
The first FIFA Club World Championship took place in Brazil in 2000. It ran in parallel with the Intercontinental Cup (also known as European/South American Cup), a competition organised jointly by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL) first disputed in 1960 by the winners of the European Champions' Cup and the Copa Libertadores. In 2005, after the Intercontinental Cup's last edition, that competition was merged with the Club World Cup's pilot edition and renamed the "FIFA Club World Championship". In 2006, the tournament took its current name. As required by the regulations, a representative from FIFA present the winner of the World Cup with the FIFA Club World Cup trophy and with a FIFA World Champions certificate.
The current format of the tournament involves seven teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about two weeks; the winners of that year's AFC Champions League (Asia), CAF Champions League (Africa), CONCACAF Champions League (North America), Copa Libertadores (South America), OFC Champions League (Oceania) and UEFA Champions League (Europe), along with the host nation's national champions, participate in a straight knock-out tournament. The host nation's national champions dispute a play-off against the Oceania champions, from which the winner joins the champions of Asia, Africa and North America at the quarter-finals. The quarter-final winners go on to face the European and South American champions, who enter at the semi-final stage, for a place in the final.
The current champions are Spain's Real Madrid, who defeated Brazil's Grêmio 1–0 in the final of the 2017 edition, to win a shared record third title in the competition and to become the first successful defending champions in the tournament's history.
The first club tournament to be billed as the "Football World Championship" was held in 1887, in which Scottish Cup champions Hibernian defeated English FA Cup semi-finalists Preston North End. According to FIFA, the first attempt at creating a global club football tournament was in 1909, 21 years before the first FIFA World Cup. The Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy was held in Italy in 1909 and 1911, and contested by English, Italian, German and Swiss clubs. It was won by English amateur side West Auckland on both occasions.
The idea that FIFA should organise international club competitions dates from the beginning of the 1950s. In 1951, FIFA President Jules Rimet was asked about FIFA's involvement in the Copa Rio, and stated that it was not under FIFA's jurisdiction since it was organised and sponsored by the Brazilian Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol; CBF). The competition was succeeded by another tournament, named Torneio Octogonal Rivadavia Corrêa Meyer, which was won by Vasco da Gama. This tournament had five Brazilian sides, and three foreign clubs, thus, losing half of its intercontinental aspect. In December 2007, FIFA turned down Palmeiras' request to recognise the tournament as a Club World Cup since the participants were limited to two continents.
Although the competition was discontinued, it was held in high regard. FIFA board members Stanley Rous and Ottorino Barassi participated personally, albeit not in their capacity as FIFA members, in the organisation of the competition in 1951. Rous' role was attributed to the negotiations with European clubs, whereas Barassi helped form the framework of the competition. Commenting on Juventus' acceptance to participate in the tournament, the Italian press stated that "an Italian club could not be missing in such an important and worldwide-reaching event".
Because of the difficulty the CBF found in bringing European clubs to the competition, the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper suggested that there should be FIFA involvement in the programming of international club competitions saying that, "ideally, international tournaments, here or abroad, should be played at times set by FIFA". However, no response was received. The Pequeña Copa del Mundo was a tournament held in Venezuela between 1952 and 1957, with a two short revivals in 1963 and in 1965. It was usually played by eight participants, half from Europe and half from South America. After the late 1950s, the tournament rapidly lost status as the pedigree of its participants decreased. This competition, along with the creation of the European Cup and the Copa Libertadores, created the groundwork of the eventual Intercontinental Cup.
After winning the Intercontinental Cup, Real Madrid titled themselves world champions until FIFA stepped in and objected, citing that the competition did not include any other champions from the other confederations; FIFA stated that they can only claim to be intercontinental champions of a competition played between two organisations in which no one else had the opportunity to participate. FIFA failed to authorise the competition in the 1960s. FIFA stated that they would prohibit the 1961 edition to be played out unless the organisers regarded the competition as a friendly or a private match between two organisations. That same year the Intercontinental Cup was first played, FIFA authorised the International Soccer League to be contested with ratification from Sir Stanley Rous, who had become the FIFA President by that point.
Although FIFA hoped to eventually transform the International Soccer League into a Club World Cup, the Intercontinental Cup had attracted the interest of other continents. The North and Central America confederation, CONCACAF, was created in 1961 to organise its intentions of allowing its clubs to participate in the Copa Libertadores and, by extension, the Intercontinental Cup. However, their entry into both competitions was rejected. Subsequently, the CONCACAF Champions' Cup began in 1962. FIFA was asked by CONMEBOL and UEFA in 1963 to make the Intercontinental Cup official; however, FIFA gave the same response as in 1960 and stated that they would only recognise the competition if the Asian and African champions were included.
Due to the brutality of the Argentine and Uruguayan clubs at the Intercontinental Cup, FIFA was asked several times during the late 1960s to assess penalties and regulate the tournament. However, FIFA refused each request. The first of these requests was made in 1967, after a play-off match labelled The Battle of Montevideo. The Scottish Football Association, via President Willie Allan, wanted FIFA to recognise the competition in order to enforce football regulation; FIFA responded that it could not regulate a competition it did not organise. Allan's crusade also suffered after CONMEBOL, with the backing of its President Teofilo Salinas and the Argentine Football Association (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino; AFA), refused to allow FIFA to have any hand in the competition, stating:
|“||The CSF is the entity in charge of controlling, in South America, the organisation of the tournament between the champions of Europe and [South] America, a competition FIFA considers a friendly. We do not think it's appropriate that FIFA has to meddle in the matter.||”|
René Courte, FIFA's General Sub-Secretary, wrote an article shortly afterwards stating that FIFA viewed the competition as a "European-South American friendly match". This was confirmed by Sir Stanley Rous, who then stated that FIFA saw the Intercontinental Cup as a friendly match. However, with the Asian and North American club competitions in place, FIFA opened the idea of supervising the competition if it included those confederations, which was met with a negative response from its participating confederations, UEFA and CONMEBOL. According to Stanley Rous, CONCACAF and the Asian Football Confederation had requested their participation in the Intercontinental Cup, which was rejected by UEFA and CONMEBOL. Madrid newspaper ABC then pointed out that, though the Intercontinental Cup was not officially endorsed by FIFA, it was endorsed by UEFA and CONMEBOL, therefore being an "intercontinental jurisdiction" cup. The 1968 and 1969 Intercontinental Cups finished in similar fashion, with Manchester United manager Matt Busby insisting that "the Argentineans should be banned from all competitive football. FIFA should really step in". Soon after, Stanley Rous wrote an article for the FIFA magazine, reaffirming his desire that FIFA could create a Club World Cup featuring champion clubs of all confederations.
In 1970, during its Congress in Mexico, FIFA officially proposed for the first time the creation of a FIFA Club World Cup, to feature champion clubs of all confederations. The proposal received a negative response from the Europeans. In 1973, French newspaper L'Équipe, who helped bring about the birth of the European Cup, volunteered to sponsor a Club World Cup contested by the champions of Europe, South America, North America and Africa, the only continental club tournaments in existence at the time; the competition was to potentially take place in Paris between September and October 1974, with an eventual final to be held at the Parc des Princes. The extreme negativity of the Europeans prevented this from happening. L'Équipe tried once again in 1975 to create a Club World Cup, in which participants would have been the four semi-finalists of the European Cup, both finalists of the Copa Libertadores, as well as the African and Asian champions. However, UEFA, via its president, Artemio Franchi, declined once again and the proposal failed.
With the Intercontinental Cup in danger of being dissolved, West Nally, a British marketing company, was hired by UEFA and CONMEBOL to find a viable solution in 1980; Toyota Motor Corporation, via West Nally, took the competition under its wing and rebranded it as the Toyota Cup, a one-off match played in Japan. Toyota invested over US$700,000 in the 1980 edition to take place in Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium, with over US$200,000 awarded to each participant. The Toyota Cup, with its new format, was received with scepticism, as the sport was unfamiliar in the Far East. However, the financial incentive was welcomed, as European and South American clubs were suffering financial difficulties. To protect themselves against the possibility of European withdrawals, Toyota, UEFA and every European Cup participant signed annual contracts requiring the eventual winners of the European Cup to participate at the Intercontinental Cup, as a condition UEFA stipulated to the clubs' participation in the European Cup, or risk facing an international lawsuit from UEFA and Toyota. In 1983, The Football Association tried organising a Club World Cup to be played in 1985 and sponsored by West Nally, only to be denied by UEFA.
The Interamerican Cup and the Afro-Asian Club Championship were tournaments created to allow those regions their own Club competitions, in large part due to the refusal of UEFA and CONMEBOL to allow CONCACAF, AFC and CAF clubs to compete in the Intercontinental Cup. According to Brazilian newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, the deal for the establishment of the Interamerican Cup was made in 1968 by CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, and established that the Interamerican Cup champion club would be entitled to represent the American continent in the Intercontinental Cup. According to the Mexican newspapers, after winning the 1977 and 1980 editions of the Interamerican Cup, Mexican teams Club América and Club Universidad Nacional, as well as the Mexican Football Federation, demanded, unsuccessfully, to participate in the Intercontinental Cup.
The framework of the 2000 FIFA Club World Championship was laid years in advance. According to Sepp Blatter, the idea of the tournament was presented to the Executive Committee in December 1993 in Las Vegas, USA, by A.C. Milan President Silvio Berlusconi. Initially, there were nine candidates to host the competition, of which only Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil and Uruguay confirmed their interest to FIFA. On 3 September 1997, FIFA selected Brazil to host the competition, which was initially scheduled to take place in 1999. The competition gave away US$28 million in prize money and its TV rights, worth US$40 million, were sold to 15 broadcasters across five continents. The final draw of the first Club World Championship was done on 19 October 1999 at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro.
The inaugural competition was planned to be contested in 1999 by the continental club winners of 1998, the Intercontinental Cup winners and the host nation's national club champions, but it was postponed by one year. When it was rescheduled, the competition had eight new participants from the continental champions of 1999: Brazilian clubs Corinthians and Vasco da Gama, English side Manchester United, Mexican club Necaxa, Moroccan club Raja Casablanca, Spanish side Real Madrid, Saudi club Al-Nassr, and Australian club South Melbourne. The first goal of the competition was scored by Real Madrid's Nicolas Anelka in a 3–1 win over Al-Nassr on 5 January 2000. The final was an all-Brazilian affair, as well as the only one which saw one side have home advantage. Vasco da Gama could not take advantage of its local support, being beaten by Corinthians 4–3 on penalties after a 0–0 draw in extra time.
The second edition of the competition was planned for Spain in 2001, and was supposed to feature 12 clubs. The draw was performed at A Coruña on 6 March 2001. However, it was cancelled on 18 May, due to a combination of factors, most importantly the collapse of FIFA's marketing partner International Sport and Leisure. The participants of the cancelled edition received US$750,000 each in compensation; the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also received US$1 million from FIFA. Another attempt to stage the competition in 2003, in which 17 countries were looking to be the host nation, also failed to happen. FIFA agreed with UEFA, CONMEBOL and Toyota to merge the Intercontinental Cup and Club World Championship into one event. The final Intercontinental Cup was in 2004, with a relaunched Club World Championship held in Japan in December 2005.
The 2005 tournament was shorter than the previous World Championship, reducing the problem of scheduling the tournament around the different club seasons across each continent. It contained just the six reigning continental champions, with the CONMEBOL and UEFA representatives receiving byes to the semi-finals. A new trophy was introduced. The draw for the 2005 edition of the competition took place on 30 July 2005 at The Westin Tokyo. In the final, one goal from Mineiro was enough for São Paulo to defeat English club Liverpool;
Internacional defeated defending world and South American champions São Paulo in the 2006 Copa Libertadores finals in order to qualify for the 2006 tournament, which they won with a late goal from Adriano Gabiru to defeat Barcelona in the final It was in 2007 when Brazilian hegemony was finally broken, when Milan defeated Boca Juniors 4–2 in a final that saw players on both sides sent off: Milan's Kakha Kaladze in the 77th minute, and 11 minutes later, Boca Juniors' Pablo Ledesma. The following year, Manchester United saw off Ecuadorian club LDU Quito 1–0 to become world champions in 2008.
The United Arab Emirates applied, with success, for the right to host the FIFA Club World Cup in 2009 and 2010. Barcelona dethroned world and European champions Manchester United in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final to qualify for that year's Club World Cup. After a close final encounter, which saw the need for extra-time, Lionel Messi scored from a header to snatch victory for Barcelona and complete an unprecedented sextuple. The 2010 tournament saw the first team from outside Europe or South America side to reach the final: DR Congo's TP Mazembe defeated Brazil's Internacional 2–0 in the semi-final to face Internazionale, who had beaten South Korean club Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma 3–0. Internazionale would go on to beat Mazembe with the same scoreline to complete their quintuple.
The FIFA Club World Cup returned to Japan for the 2011 and 2012 edition. In 2011, Barcelona comfortably won their semi-final match 4–0 against Qatari club Al Sadd. In the final, Barcelona would repeat their performance against Santos; this is, to date, the largest winning margin in the final of the competition. Messi also became the first player to score in two different Club World Cup finals. The 2012 edition saw Europe's dominance come to an end as Corinthians, boasting over 30,000 travelling fans which was dubbed the "Invasão da Fiel", travelled to Japan to join Barcelona in being two-time winners of the competition. In the semi-finals, Al-Ahly managed to keep the scoreline close as Corinthians' Paolo Guerrero scored to send the Timão into their second final. Guerrero would once again come through for Corinthians as the Timão saw off English side Chelsea 1–0 in order to bring the trophy back to Brazil.
2013 and 2014 had the Club World Cup moving to Morocco. The first edition saw a Cinderella run of host team Raja Casablanca, who had to start in the play-off round and became the second African team to reach the final, after defeating Brazil's Atlético Mineiro in the semi-final. Like Mazembe, Raja also lost to the European champion, this time a 2–0 defeat to Bayern Munich. 2014 again had a decision between South America and Europe, and Real Madrid beat San Lorenzo 2–0.
The 2015 and 2016 editions once again saw Japan as hosts for the 7th and 8th time respectively in the 12th and 13th editions of the FIFA Club World Cup. The 2015 edition saw a Final between River Plate and FC Barcelona. FC Barcelona lifted their third FIFA Club World Cup, with Suarez scoring two goals and Lionel Messi scoring one goal in the Final. One notable thing that occurred in the 2015 tournament was that Sanfrecce Hiroshima made it to third place, the farthest ever achieved by a Japanese club. This record would not last though, as the 2016 edition saw J1 League winners Kashima Antlers making it to the Final (outscoring rivals 7-1), against Real Madrid. A Gaku Shibasaki inspired Kashima attempted to win their first FIFA Club World Cup (a feat never done by any club outside of Europe and South America), but were denied by Real Madrid, who won 4-2 in extra time, thanks to a hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo. The victory saw Real Madrid win their second FIFA Club World Cup, and their fifth International title (counting the three Intercontinental Cups Real Madrid had won prior to 2014).
As early as late 2016, FIFA President Gianni Infantino suggested an initial expansion of the Club World Cup to 32 teams beginning in 2019 and the reschedule to June to be more balanced and more attractive to broadcasters and sponsors. In late 2017, FIFA discussed proposals to expand the competition to 24 teams and have it be played every four years by 2021, replacing the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Barcelona and Real Madrid hold the record for most victories, winning the competition three times a piece. Corinthians' inaugural victory remains the best result from a host nation's national league champions. Teams from Spain have won the tournament six times, the most for any nation.
|Match was won during extra time|
|Match was won on a penalty shoot-out|
|Season||Host||Winners||Score||Runners-up||Third place||Score||Fourth place||Ref|
|Vasco da Gama||Necaxa||1–1
|2007||Japan||Milan||4–2||Boca Juniors||Urawa Red Diamonds||2–2
|Étoile du Sahel||
|2008||Japan||Manchester United||1–0||LDU Quito||Gamba Osaka||1–0||Pachuca||
|2009||United Arab Emirates||Barcelona||2–1
|2010||United Arab Emirates||Internazionale||3–0||TP Mazembe||Internacional||4–2||Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma||
|2013||Morocco||Bayern Munich||2–0||Raja Casablanca||Atlético Mineiro||3–2||Guangzhou Evergrande||
|2014||Morocco||Real Madrid||2–0||San Lorenzo||Auckland City||1–1
|2015||Japan||Barcelona||3–0||River Plate||Sanfrecce Hiroshima||2–1||Guangzhou Evergrande||
|Kashima Antlers||Atlético Nacional||2–2
|2017||United Arab Emirates||Real Madrid||1–0||Grêmio||Pachuca||4–1||Al-Jazira|
|2018||United Arab Emirates|
|Nation||Club||Winner||Runner-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|Barcelona||3||1||2009, 2011, 2015||2006|
|Real Madrid||3||—||2014, 2016, 2017||&
|Vasco da Gama||—||1||&
Africa's best representatives are TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Moroccan club Raja Casablanca, both finishing in second place in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Kashima Antlers from Japan is Asia's best representative, finishing second in the 2016 edition.
These three clubs are the only clubs from outside Europe and South America to play in the final.
Auckland City from New Zealand has earned third place and is the only Oceanian team to reach the semi-finals.
As of 2012, most teams qualify to the FIFA Club World by winning their continental competitions, be it the Asian AFC Champions League, African CAF Champions League, North American CONCACAF Champions League, South American Copa Libertadores, Oceanian OFC Champions League or European UEFA Champions League. Aside from these, the host nation's national league champions qualify as well.
The maiden edition of this competition was separated into two rounds. The eight participants were split into two groups of four teams. The winner of each group met in the final while the runners-up played for third place. The competition changed its format during the 2005 relaunch into a single-elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one-off matches, with extra time and penalty shoot-outs used to decide the winner if necessary. It featured six clubs competing over a two-week period.There were three stages: the quarter-final round, the semi-final round and the final. The quarter-final stage pitted the Oceanian Champions League winners, the African Champions League winners, the Asian Champions League winners and the North American Champions League winners against each other. Afterwards, the winners of those games would go on to the semi-finals to play the European Champions League winners and South America's Copa Libertadores winners. The victors of each semi-final would play go on to play in the final.
With the introduction of the current format, which now has a fifth place match and a place for the host nation's national league champions, the format slightly changed. There are now four stages: the play-off round, the quarter-final round, the semi-final round and the final. The first stage pits the host nation's national league champions against the Oceanian Champions League winners. The winner of that stage would go on the quarter-finals to join the African Champions League winners, the AFC Champions League winners and the CONCACAF Champions League winners. The winners of those games would go on to the semi-finals to play the UEFA Champions League winners and South America's Copa Libertadores winners. The winners of each semi-final play each other in the final.
The trophy used during the inaugural competition was called the FIFA Club World Championship Cup. The original laurel was created by Sawaya & Moroni, an Italian designer company that produces contemporary designs with cultural backgrounds and design concepts. The designing firm is based in Milan. The fully silver-coloured trophy had a weight of 4 kg (8.8 lb) and a height of 37.5 cm (14.8 in). Its base and widest points are 10 cm (3.9 in) long. The trophy had a base of two pedestals which had four rectangular pillars. Two of the four pillars had inscriptions on them; one contained the phrase, "FIFA Club World Championship" imprinted across. The other had the letters "FIFA" inscribed on it. On top, a football based on the 1998 FIFA World Cup ball, the Adidas Tricolore, can be seen. The production costs of the laurel was US$25,000. It was presented for the first time at Sheraton Hotels and Resorts in Rio de Janeiro on 4 January 2000.
The tournament, in its present format, shares its name with the current trophy, also called the FIFA Club World Cup or simply la Copa, which is awarded to the FIFA Club World Cup winner. It was unveiled at Tokyo on 30 July 2005 during the draw of that year's edition of the competition. The laurel was designed in 2005 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, at Thomas Fattorini Ltd, by English designer Jane Powell, alongside her assistant Dawn Forbes, at the behest of FIFA. The gold-and-silver-coloured trophy, weighing 5.2 kg (11 lb), has a height of 50 cm (20 in). Its base and widest points are also measured at exactly 20 cm (7.9 in). It is made out of a combination of brass, copper, sterling silver, gilding metal, aluminium, chrome and rhodium. The trophy itself is gold plated.
The design, according to FIFA, shows six staggered pillars, representing the six participating teams from the respective six confederations, and one separate metal structure referencing the winner of the competition. They hold up a globe in the shape of a football – a consistent feature amongst almost all of FIFA's event trophies. The graceful curves and inherent strength of the trophy evoke the balletic and athletic qualities necessary to successfully compete in the FIFA Club World Cup and the tension and movement describe the competitive energy amongst the participants. The golden pedestal has the phrase, "FIFA Club World Cup", imprinted at the bottom.
At the end of each Club World Cup, awards are presented to the players and teams for accomplishments other than their final team positions in the tournament. There are currently four awards:
The winners of the competition also receive the FIFA Club World Cup Champions Badge; it features an image of the trophy, which the reigning champion is entitled to display on its kit until the final of the next championship. The first edition of the badge was presented to Milan, the winners of the 2007 final. All four previous champions were allowed to wear the badge until the 2008 final, where Manchester United gained the sole right to wear the badge by winning the trophy.
Each tournament's top three teams receives a set of gold, silver or bronze medals to distribute to their players.
|Third place||US$2.5 million|
|Fourth place||US$2 million|
|Fifth place||US$1.5 million|
|Sixth place||US$1 million|
|Seventh place||US$0.5 million|
The 2000 FIFA Club World Championship was the inaugural edition of this competition; it provided US$28 million in prize money for its participants. The prize money received by the clubs participating was divided into fixed payments based on participation and results. Clubs finishing the tournament from fifth to eighth place received US$2.5 million. The club who would eventually finish in fourth place received US$3 million while the third-place team received US$4 million. The runner-up earned US$5 million while the eventual champions would gain US$6 million.
The relaunch of the tournament in 2005 FIFA Club World Championship saw different amounts of prize money given and some changes in the criteria of receiving certain amounts. The total amount of prize money given dropped to US$16 million. The winners received US$5 million and the runners-up US$4 million, with $2.5 million for third place, US$2 million for fourth, US$1.5 million for fifth and US$1 million for sixth.
For the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup, a play-off match between the OFC champions and the host-nation champions for entry into the quarter-final stage was introduced in order to increase home interest in the tournament. The reintroduction of the match for fifth place for the 2008 competition also prompted an increase in prize money by US$500,000 to a total of US$16.5 million.
Like the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup is sponsored by a group of multinational corporations. Toyota Motor Corporation, a Japanese multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Aichi, Japan, was the Presenting Partner of the FIFA Club World Cup until its sponsorship agreement expired at the end of December 2014 and was not renewed. Because Toyota was an automobile manufacturer and the main sponsor of the tournament, Hyundai-Kia's status as a FIFA partner was not active with respect to the Club World Cup prior to 2015. However, the other FIFA partners – Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Visa – retained full sponsorship rights. From 2015 to 2022, the tournament will be presented by Alibaba Cloud of the Alibaba Group.
Individual clubs may wear jerseys with advertising, even if such sponsors conflict with those of the FIFA Club World Cup. However, only one main sponsor is permitted per jersey in addition to that of the kit manufacturer.
The tournament's current event sponsors and brands advertised (in italic) are:
Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos hold the shared record of four times champions of the FIFA Club World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo holds the record of being the overall top goalscorer in FIFA Club World Cup history with seven goals. Mohamed Aboutrika, Hossam Ashour and Wael Gomaa are the players with most appearances in the competition with eleven matches.
Real Madrid and Barcelona shared the record of three times champions of the FIFA Club World Cup. Real Madrid have the record of most wins (6) without losses. Real Madrid also possess the record for most goals scored in the competition (25), while Al Ahly claim the record of most goals conceded (15). Auckland City FC has played the most games with 14 in eight different tournaments.
Since its inception in 2000, the competition, despite its name and the contestants' achievements, has received differing reception. In most of Europe it struggles to find broad media attention compared to the UEFA Champions League and commonly lacks recognition as a high-ranking contest. In South America, however, it is widely considered the highest point in the career of a footballer, coach and/or team at international club level.
The competition is also criticised, mainly by the European press and fans among others, by its competition format, which widely favours the UEFA and CONMEBOL teams, since their contestants start in the semi-final round and can only play between them in the final match. It is also criticised for its poor organisation, the poor reception among the local fans for the matches not featuring any European or South American team, FIFA's decision to select the competition's host based on economic deals and not on their footballing merit at the international stage like Japan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (with the exception of Brazil which hosted the first edition), and the poor economic benefits for the winning team, regarded as inferior than any Super Cup prizes.
Lionel Messiwas invoked but never defined (see the help page).