Manchester City won the Club World Cup for the first time to end 2023 with five trophies after a 4-0 win over Fluminense in Jeddah on Friday.
City’s victory extended European clubs’ domination of the competition since 2012 and was never in doubt once Julian Alvarez opened the scoring inside the first minute.
Nino’s first-half own goal realistically ended the Brazilians’ dreams of an upset, before Phil Foden and Alvarez rounded off the scoring in the final 20 minutes.
City’s poor Premier League form before flying out to Saudi Arabia had raised Fluminense hopes that Pep Guardiola’s men could be vulnerable.
But the growing chasm between Europe’s elite clubs and the rest of the world thanks to huge financial imbalances in the global game was instead exposed.
European clubs have won 22 consecutive games at the Club World Cup.
City laboured for 45 minutes to break down Japan’s Urawa Reds in the semi-final before cruising to a 3-0 win.
This time, they needed less than 45 seconds.
Fluminense’s old guard saw them through a tricky semi-final against African champions Al Ahly. But it was one of their experienced heads that was at fault for the opening goal as former Real Madrid captain Marcelo gifted possession to Nathan Ake with a wayward pass.
The Dutch defender strode forward and curled a fine effort off the post from outside the box. The rebound fell for Alvarez to chest into an unguarded net.
At just 23, Alvarez added to his remarkable haul of silverware that includes the World Cup and Copa America with Argentina at international level, the Copa Libertadores during his time at River Plate, plus Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup medals during just over a year at City.