As expected, Barcelona made easy work of the annually forgotten Club World Cup, beating Santos 4-0 in the final. And it seems the drubbing opened the eyes of Neymar, who won the tournament's Bronze Ball award (Leo Messi and Xavi took the gold and silver, naturally), as to what he's missing out on by resigning with Santos instead of chasing Barcelona's offer.
"It's impossible to stop Barcelona, but we are the second-best team in the world and for us that is a great reward," Neymar said.
By that logic, Al Sadd, who finished third in the tournament (and also lost 4-0 to Barca) are the third best team in the world. I'm sure that's news to them, as well as a number of clubs across Europe.
It will be interesting to see if Neymar changes his mind after this brush with greatness. He now knows first hand just how much better the competition is in Europe compared to Brazil, something he's seemed to understate to this point. Then, again he does think Santos are now the second best team in the world, so maybe his cartoonish worldview hasn't widened that much, after all.
(UPDATE: If AS is to be believed, Neymar told Pep Guardiola to "take me to Barca" during the post-match awards ceremony. That was fast.)
Said Santos manager Muricy Ramalho:
"Barcelona are the greatest team in the world," he said. "No team can live with them. They're unbeatable at the moment. Losing 4-0 to them is no disgrace."
Well, they're not exactly unbeatable. As extraordinary as Barcelona still are, they were beat 1-0 by midtable side Getafe less than a month ago and still trail La Liga leaders Real Madrid by three points even after beating them 3-1 last week.
While Santos were singing Barcelona's praises, a slightly confused Lionel Messi was ushered to a pitchside Japanese TV set with a giant (it was actually normal size, but just looked giant compared to him), golden Toyota Man of the Match key in hand. Here's the video...
Eager to join his celebrating teammates, Messi furrowed his brow and said he only had time for one question. After refusing a stranger's coat and looking ready to run at any moment, Messi was asked what he plans on doing after he retires. Further confused by the random question, he said that he didn't know since his retirement is still a ways off. Then he bolted.