We will start off this edition by issuing a congratulatory message to Brazil’s Corinthinas on becoming the first non-European club to win the Club World Cup in several years by knocking off Chelsea 1-0 in the final. Of course, the tournament is seen as a glorified exhibition my most European fans, and they may have a point, but it is a source of pride here in South America when one of its clubs demonstrates that it can compete with the top clubs in Europe.
The Club World Cup can sometimes have an effect on the rankings, but it doesn’t this time around. One thing that did have an effect, however, was Benfica’s move into first place in Portugal’s Liga Sagres, which allowed the club to move into the Top Ten despite being eliminated from UEFA’s Champions League. With two Ligue 1 victories, including one over Lyon, Paris St.-Germain also made a move into this week’s Top Ten.
With the Club World Cup complete, it is now a good time to bring up our World Club Rankings Annual Top 25. We’ve compiled these since 1960, having posted all but about a dozen of them. (For the record, we recently saved a file with the remaining unpublished rankings and we will be posting those throughout the season.) Also, as per tradition, we will be offering you a chance to vote for the WCR Club of the Year, although, for the record, your vote isn’t used in the actual tabulations for the award.
That’s enough of that for now. Below is the information for this week’s rankings and results. Enjoy!!!
World Club Rankings – Top 25 Clubs in the World – December 17, 2012
1. Barcelona (Esp) (1) – Starting the week with a 2-0 Copa del Rey victory over Córdoba, Barça continued its record-setting Primera División start with a 4-1 thrashing of Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou. Coming Up: Barcelona will be in action in La Liga again on Saturday at Real Valladolid.
2. Manchester United (Eng) (2) – In its Premier League match for this week, United handled Sunderland, winning 3-1. Coming Up: On Sunday, Manyoo will be at Swansea City in its next opportunity to slap around a lightweight.
3. Bayern Munich (Ger) (3) – Bayern finishes the first half of the Bundesliga season in first place despite settling for a 1-1 home draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Coming Up: Bayern’s 2012 will come to an end on Tuesday at Augsburg in a DFB Pokal match.
4. Juventus (Ita) (4) – Juve was able to extend its lead in Italy’s Serie A table by beating Atalanta 3-0. Coming Up: Juventus will return to action on Friday at Cagliari.
5. Atlético Madrid (Esp) (5) – Atlético beat Getafe 3-0 in a Copa del Rey match, but that was the high point of the week for the other club from Madrid, who lost the battle of Falcao vs Messi by a 1-2 score, and lost the match to Barcelona 1-4. Coming Up: The second place club in the Primera División will look to bounce back at home against Celta de Vigo on Friday.
6. Benfica (Por) (12) – With a 4-1 win over Maritimo, and Porto’s postponed match, Benfica moved to the top of the Liga Sagres, moving the club from Lisbon into the Top Ten. Coming Up: Benfica will be in action on Wednesday at Olhanense in a Taça de Liga match.
7. Manchester City (Eng) (6) – City kept pace with United this week by defeating Newcastle United 3-1, the same score that United had in its defeat of Newcastle’s archrival, Sunderland. Coming Up: On Saturday, City will host last place Reading in its next EPL match.
8. Paris St.-Germain (Fra) (13) – PSG won a pair of Ligue 1 matches this week, slapping Valenciennes with a 4-0 loss before edging past Lyon by a 1-0 score to take over the lead in France’s Ligue 1 table. Coming Up: PSG will take on Brest in its next Ligue 1 match on Friday.
9. Real Madrid (Esp) (8) – I’m not sure what happened this week in José’s world, but Real Madrid 1-2 at Celta de Vigo in a Copa del Rey match before drawing 2-2 with Espanyol at home, though that was good enough to move Real Madrid one point closer to second place Atlético. Coming Up: In the only matchup of WCR Top 25 clubs this weekend, Real Madrid will be in action at Málaga on Saturday.
10. Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukr) (9)
11. Porto (Por) (7) – No matches this week. Coming Up: After having its weekend match postponed and dropping to second place in the Liga Sagres, Porto will play at Nacional in a Taça de Liga match on Wednesday.
12. Inter Milan (Ita) (10) – Inter fell further behind Juve this week by losing 0-1 at Lazio in Serie A action. Coming Up: On Tuesday, Inter will host Hellas Verona in a Coppa Italia match before hosting Genoa in its next league match on Saturday.
13. Chelsea (Eng) (14) – Chelsea performed as expected in defeating Mexico’s Monterrey 3-1 in the semifinals of the Club World Cup, but that’s as good as it got for Chelsea, who fell 0-1 to Brazil’s Corinthians in the final of the FIFA competition. Coming Up: Chelsea returns to the islands to take on Leeds United in a League Cup match on Wednesday. On Sunday, Chelsea will host Aston Villa in its return to Premier League action.
14. Napoli (Ita) (15) – Like Inter Milan, Napoli also dropped three points further behind the Serie A leader with a 2-3 home loss to Bologna. Coming Up: Bologna can hang around town for a few more days because it will play at Napoli again in a Coppa Italia match. In a return to league play, Napoli will play at Siena on Saturday.
15. Málaga (Esp) (16) – Málaga remains in fourth place in Spain’s Primera División with an impressive 2-0 victory over Sevilla. Coming Up: After a Tuesday Copa del Rey match at Elbar, Málaga will set its sights on third place in Spain when it hosts Real Madrid on Saturday.
16. Bayer Leverkusen (Ger) (17) – Leverkusen picked up a couple points on Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich with a 3-0 win over Hamburger SV in its weekly leage match. Coming Up: Leverkusen will be at Wolfsburg on Wednesday in a DFB Pokal matchup between top tier clubs.
17. Borussia Dortmund (Ger) (18) – Dortmund also gained on Bayern, defeating Hoffenheim 2-1 away over the weekend. Coming Up: Dortmund will be at home on Wednesday in its DFB Pokal match against Hannover 96.
18. Lyon (Fra) (11) – Lyon’s up-and-down season was more on the down side this week, drawing 1-1 at home against Nancy at midweek and then losing 0-1 at Paris St.-Germain on Sunday. Coming Up: Lyon will be at home against Nice on Saturday as it tries to work its way back up the Ligue 1 table.
19. Fluminense (Bra) (19)
20. Sporting Braga (Por) (NF) – The third place club in the Liga Sagres lived up to its spot in the table, defeating Estoril 3-0 at home. Coming Up: Braga will be at Vitoria Guimarães on Wednesday in a Taça de Liga match.
21. Anorthosis (Cyp) (20) – Anorthosis remains in first place in Cypriot’s top division after beating Paphos 2-0 this weekend. Coming Up: Anorthosis will be in action again on Sunday at Enosis.
22. Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Ukr) (22)
23. Fiorentina (Ita) (NR) – Fiorentina moved into fourth place in Italy’s Serie A following a 4-1 beatdown of rival Siena over the weekend. Coming Up: Fiorentina will play two matches on the road this week, at Udinese on a Wednesday Coppa Italia match and on Saturday at Palermo in Serie A.
24. Tottenham Hotspur (Eng) (NF) – The Spurs continue to do well in the Premier League, beating Swansea City 1-0 to move into fourth place. Now, watch Arsenal win the Champions League and Tottenham get relegated to the Europa League, again. Coming Up: All the Spurs can do is take care of their own business, and next on that agenda is a visit to Stoke City on Saturday.
25. Atlético Mineiro (Bra) (23)
Bubbling Under: Celtic (Sco), CSKA Moscow (Rus), Dynamo Kyiv (Ukr), Lazio (Ita), Olympiakos (Gre).
Next Five: Anzhi (Rus), APOEL (Cyp), Eintracht Frankfurt (Ger), Everton (Eng), Galatasaray (Tur).
Matches This Week Between WCR Top 25 Clubs:
22 December – (9) Real Madrid at (15) Málaga