Saturday will be a spectacular final chapter of the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup Qatar, which brings together the best deals for Europe and South America.
But before the action starts, Liverpool and Flamengo have to see what they’re arguing about. Enter Julio Cesar – Brazilian goalkeeper legend and club world champion in 2010 – who will be the official trophy holder for the final.
FIFA spoke to former Inter Milan, Benfica and Flamengo opponents about the chance to win the title again at the Khalifa International Stadium.
So, Saturday’s final will begin with you carrying out the trophy. How are you feeling about it?
I’m really happy and excited, as I only just found out! FIFA told me I was getting this opportunity because I can touch the trophy, having won this tournament in 2010 with Inter Milan. It’s an honor and a big pleasure for me to be walking out to the pitch with the trophy, I’ll be asking my wife and kids to record this moment because they are in Lisbon now, so I hope when they watch me on TV they’ll not forget to capture it! [Laughs] Thanks to FIFA for the opportunity.
You know better than anyone how the players will be feeling right now, with a huge finale on the horizon.
Before a game like this, the players are usually so focused and are just thinking about the game. Especially before games like this final. When they arrive, I think the players have just one thing in your mind – getting to lift the trophy. It’s the biggest moment for the clubs and the players because we work hard to experience these kinds of moments, so being fully concentrated on the game – if a little bit nervous – is normal. Once it all gets started you just think about giving your very best.
What are your memories of the moment you became a world champion?
In South America, this tournament is huge, bigger than the Libertadores. So, when I had the opportunity to win this competition with Inter, as I’m from Brazil I celebrated a huge amount with my countrymen Lucio and Maicon, as well as the Argentinian players. For South America, it means so much to us.
As a Flamengo supporter yourself, you’ll also be feeling a lot of what many of those in the stands are feeling on Saturday, too.
Flamengo has approximately 40 million fans in Brazil, it’s massive. When they get inside the stadium you know about it, because they’re just different. I really can’t explain it. It’s hard to get across what you feel when you’re on the pitch and they get behind you. I really think the fans can make the difference, but there will be plenty of fans from Liverpool who will try to do the same. It’s going to be a great spectacle in the stands and it’s going to be great on the pitch, too, as we’re talking about two fantastic teams.
What would it mean for those Flamengo fans to see their team crowned the best in the world?
It would be huge. We had the opportunity in 1981 to see us be crowned the best in the world, so I hope after 38 years we’ll have the opportunity to celebrate again. It will be tough because Liverpool is one of the best teams on the planet today. Over the last three years, they have been incredible under Jurgen Klopp and with this team. But I think Flamengo has a good opportunity to beat them because during this season they have been amazing: they won the Brasileirao, they won the Libertadores and I think they will arrive in really strong shape.
Interview Question Answers Courtesy FIFA.com