Luis Enrique's Barcelona side will look to clinch yet another title in 2015, having already conquered Spain and Europe, at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. Lionel Messi believes it would be the perfect end to the year.
It has been a year to remember for Spanish giants FC Barcelona who, having won the Spanish La Liga, Champions League, Copa del Rey and European Super Cup, face China's Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday for a place in the FIFA Club World Cup Final on December 20.
One of the Catalan's many stars, Lionel Messi, believes the current Barcelona side has more weapons to its armory than Pep Guardiola's historic 2009 team, which conquered Europe and the world.
"That time when we won everything under Guardiola looked unrepeatable," said Messi, speaking ahead to FIFA's official website ahead of the semi final in Yokohama. "We genuinely weren't sure if we'd get close to that again. (But) here we are. Now what's left for us to do is end the year in the best possible way and make it unforgettable."
Messi is favorite to pick up his fifth Ballon d'Or title in January after guiding his team to four domestic and European titles. The Argentine forward, though, says he has always thought of the Club World Cup as a top competition.
"This is one of my favourite competitions," Messi continued. "It gives you the opportunity to round off the year in the best possible way. These titles are an indelible legacy in the history of the club. It's something very important."
No fear for the Tigers
Barcelona's opponents on Thursday, Guangzhou Evergrande, have had a year to remember themselves. Having conquered the Chinese league, led by Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Northern China Tigers won the Asian Champions League to reach the Club World Cup. Scolari says his side don't fear the Spanish giants.
"I don't need to say anything to my players to give them any extra motivation," insisted Scolari. "They've won the Chinese league, the Asian Champions League and beat Club America in our first game in Japan. That's all the motivation they need."
Barcelona will be without Scolari's fellow countryman Neymar, who is injured with a groin strain. The former Brazilian national team coach believes, though, that one of the three parts to the 'MSN' trio - Messi, Neymar and Suarez, who bagged a remarkable 127 goals for Barca in 2015 and more than Spanish rivals Real Madrid - is one of the world's best.
"Neymar is one of the top three players in the world," said the former Brazil coach, whose Evergrande side upset Mexico's Club America 2-1 in the quarter-finals at the weekend.
"He has the potential to be the best player in the world in the next five years but Barcelona have 25 Neymars. They have quality in every position. They have (Lionel) Messi, (Luis) Suarez, (Andres) Iniesta, the list goes on -- players who can hurt you everywhere," he added. "It will be a huge challenge but one we relish."
The first Club World Cup semi final will be played on Wednesday, at 11:30 (CET) between Safrecce Hiroshima and River Plate, before Barcelona and Evergrande meet on Thursday.