The Most Memorable Moments and Matches in the FIFA Club World Cup History

Do you know when the first time Messi and Neymar came face to face was? It was in the FIFA Club World Cup 2011. It is one of the most memorable moments in football history. Many more memorable moments and matches took place in the tournament.

It is the only tournament where the best clubs from each continent face off. The 19th edition of the tournament will begin on February 1. Who knows what big moments and what great match is going to take place this year?

But for the time being, let’s check on some of the most memorable moments and matches in FIFA Club World Cup History.

The Most Memorable Moments in the FIFA Club World Cup History

In the last 18 seasons, the tournament has offered the fans many great moments. But some of them are still fresh in the fans’ minds, and they come to the mind of fans whenever they think of the tournament.

Moment Year
The Corinthians won the trophy 2000
Barca was Stunned by Internacional 2006
Neymar Meets Messi 2011
Ceni’s Semi-Final Goal 2005
The Corinthians Does It Again 2012
Phenomenal Pedro 2009
Manchester United gets crushed by Vasco da Gama 2013

1. The Corinthians Winning the Trophy

Before the beginning of the tournament, many anticipated that the tournament would be one-way domination of the European clubs. In the first edition of the tournament, two European giants, Real Madrid and Manchester United, came to play, and they were the favorites naturally.

However, in the first match, Corinthians drew the game with the Madrid club by 2-2, became the group champion, and eventually lifted the trophy, winning the final. It was unexpected, but this win made the tournament more interesting and anticipated for the next edition.

2. Barca Gets Stunned by Internacional

The Club World Cup has been an occasion where the big teams often meet their nightmare. The final of the 2006 Club World Cup was played between the International and Barcelona.

Barca had star names like Ronaldinho, Andrés Iniesta, Gianluca Zambrotta, and Carles Puyol. Still, the Spanish club could not score any goal but rather conceded the match-winning goal in the 82nd minute of the match. Adriano Gabiru sent the ball into the net, and the Barca fans were stunned while the International went crazy. It is one of the major upsets of the tournament.

3. Messi-Neymar First Face Off

Lionel Messi was already a top star in 2011. And another great player was rising during this time named Neymar. Barcelona faced Santos in the 2011 final.

Both Messi and Neymar were dominating in their respective leagues. The first meet, however, was not very exciting for the young Neymar as Barca had a comfortable 4-0 win. Messi scored two goals in the match, while Neymar did not find the net.

4. Ceni’s Semi-Final Goal

Goalkeepers are usually supposed to stop goals. The Brazilian goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, however, had a different idea about the role of a goalkeeper. He would stop and score goals.

Ceni, as a goalkeeper, did not make the headlines many times. However, he was often on the news for scoring. And in the 2005 semi-final against Al-Ittihad, he scored the first goal as a goalkeeper in the tournament.

As goalkeeper scoring is not a regular event, fans still remember the goal, and it has become one of the most memorable events in the FIFA Club World Cup history.

5. The Corinthians Does It Again

Chelsea won their first-ever UEFA Champions League in 2012. The team was in a great run and had full confidence to win the Club World cup. However, the Corinthians were experts in delivering shockers in the tournament.

In the 69th minute of the match, Guerrero found Chelsea’s net, and the Pensioners had no answer to it and lost the game. The Corinthians won their second title in their second appearance, which makes them one of the most successful clubs in the FIFA Club World Cup.

6. Pedro’s Phenomenal Performance

Pedro is now a much more popular name. However, it was not always like this for him. He was finding it difficult to make the starting team. His big moment came in the 2009 Club World Cup final.

Barca had already won five titles in the season and was confident to bag the sixth one. However, Estudiantes scored in the first half and took the lead. Pedro came to the field in the 46th minute. Despite trying too hard, Barca failed to score.

In the 89th minute, a minute before the whistle was about to announce another shocker, Pedro scored an amazing goal and saved the match for Barca. In the extra time, Messi scored the winning goal. But Pedro became the star player of the match, which gave him the breakthrough he was in much need of.

7. Manchester United Gets Crushed by Vasco da Gama

The first edition of the tournament was full of surprises and shocks. Many anticipated that the final would be between Real Madrid and Manchester United. However, the Red Devils experienced one of their most horrific losses in history.

Football is an uncertain game, and Vasco da Gama is a strong team. Nonetheless, no one expected the Red Devils would lose the match by 3-1. Romário scored two goals in the first half an hour, and the third one also came in the first half. Manchester United could achieve only a late consolation goal.

The absolute dominance of the Brazilian club over the English giant made the moment one of the most memorable in FIFA Club World Cup history.

The Most Memorable Matches in FIFA Club World Cup History

As the best teams of the continents face each other in the tournament, great matches are bound to occur. And over the years, there have been many. Here are the seven most memorable matches in FIFA Club World Cup history:

Match Score Year
Gamba Osaka vs. Manchester United 3 – 5 2008
Raja Casablanca vs. Al-Nassr 3 – 4 2000
Corinthians vs. Real Madrid 2 – 2 2000
Kashima Antlers vs. Real Madrid  2 – 4 2016
Al-Sadd vs. Esperance de Tunis 2 – 6 2019
Santos vs. Barcelona 0 – 4 2011
Al Ain vs. Team Wellington 3 – 3 2018

1. Gamba Osaka vs. Manchester United (2008)

Manchester United had a horrific experience in their first Club World Cup in 2000. They again got to play in the tournament in 2008, and this time they won the title. However, their road to the final was not smooth.

In the Semi-final, the Red Devils faced Gamba Osaka and took a 2-0 lead in the first half; credit goes to Vidic and Ronaldo. However, things were at a different height. 74 to 79 minutes was the most exciting six minutes in the tournament’s history.

In the 74th minute, Osaka tried to come back with a goal. However, Rooney and Fletcher scored three goals in the next five minutes. Osaka did not give up, even when the score was 5-1. Osaka scored two more goals making the final score 5-3.

With such a thrilling finish, the game became one of the most memorable matches in the FIFA Club World Cup.

2. Raja Casablanca vs. Al-Nassr (2000)

The match between the  Asian Super Cup Raja Casablanca and  CAF Champions League winner Al-Nassr was an instant classic.

At the beginning of the match, Al-Amin scored the first goal in the 4th minute, and Al Nasr had the lead. By the 60th minute, the score stood 3-1. And it seemed like Al-Nasr was about to get an easy win. However, Raja Casablanca came back strongly.

El Moubarki and El Karkouri scored in the 67th and 73rd minutes to level the score. The match suddenly changed, and fans were on the edge of their seats. However, Saib from Al-Nasr scored the match-winning goal 5 minutes before the game ended and had one of the most thrilling victories.

It is among the most memorable matches in the FIFA Club World Cup history to date.

3. Corinthians vs. Real Madrid (2000)

The match between the Corinthians and Real Madrid was incredible. Corinthians fought shoulder to shoulder. The Whites scored their first goal in the 19th minute, and the Corinthians equalized quickly in the 28th minute.

Then the Corinthains scored their second goal in the 64th minute and took the lead. Anelka, who scored the first goal, equalized the score, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. It was a shocker for Madrid, and it boosted the confidence of the Corinthians, who eventually won the trophy.

4. Kashima Antlers vs. Real Madrid (2016)

Real Madrid is the most successful club in the Club World Cup history, winning the title four times. They also had won the tournament three times in a row, and the reign began in 2016. However, their Japanese opponent Kashima Antlers made it much more difficult for them.

Benzema scored the first goal in the ninth minute, and the team was confident to have an easy victory. But Shibasaki scored back-to-back goals in 44 and 52 minutes of the game, and the Antlers were leading the match by 2-1.

The table quickly turned, and the Real fans were horrified. Nonetheless, Ronaldo came to the rescue like many other times. He scored the equalizer in the 60th minute from a penalty shot. In the additional time, he scored two more goals and won the game.

5. Al-Sadd vs. Esperance de Tunis (2019)

Though Liverpool won the tournament, the best match was the Al-Sadd vs. Esperance de Tunis. Eight goals were scored in the game. Three were from penalty shots. It is one of the high-scoring games in the tournament’s history.

Al-Sadd put the ball into the Esperances’ net six times. It was a highly entertaining game for the fans.

6. Santos vs Barcelona (2011)

This match is memorable for many reasons. It was the first time Neymar and Messi came face to face. And they had their first face-off in a final match. Both Neymar and Messi were in top form and had scored goals in the tournament.

However, the match was one-sided. Messi scored two goals, and Barcelona won the match 4-0. Still, the match is memorable for the face-off of the two of the GOATs of the game.

7. Al Ain vs. Team Wellington (2018)

Two lesser-known teams faced each other in the first round of the 2018’s Club World Cup. They took the opportunity to the fullest to show their class to the world. It was a highly entertaining game. Both teams gave their best and competed for the shoulder to shoulder.

The game ended 3-3 after ninety minutes. Even extra time was not enough to find a better team. Finally, Al Ain won the game in the penalty shootout.


The FIFA Club World Cup often delivers shockers and unexpected great matches. Matches that may seem one-sided become nail-biting thrillers. With unpredictable results and performances, these are the most memorable moments and games in FIFA Club World Cup history.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.