Manchester City’s Jack Grealish has denied being disrespectful towards Fluminense during Friday’s Club World Cup final victory.

Tempers briefly flared after the final whistle as City captain Kyle Walker and Fluminense defender Felipe Melo grappled in a heated argument.

Melo subsequently blamed Grealish for stoking tensions, claiming the City winger had shouted ‘ole’.

Grealish insisted that was not true, writing on the social media site X, formerly known as Twitter: “Not once did I say ole.”

The situation quickly calmed down before City lifted their fifth trophy of the year following a comprehensive 4-0 win over the Brazilian side in Saudi Arabia.

Julian Alvarez scored twice, with Phil Foden also netting in the second half after a Nino own goal had put City two up.

Pep Guardiola spoke of his pride after Manchester City thrashed Fluminense 4-0 to win the Club World Cup for the first time on Friday.

It was the club’s fifth trophy of a memorable 2023 after their previous successes in the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and European Super Cup.

Julian Alvarez began the rout after just 40 seconds, teed up another for Phil Foden and then wrapped up a one-sided victory in the closing minutes. City also benefited from an own goal as they overran their Brazilian opponents.

City manager Guardiola, who had previously won the competition three times, told the club’s website: “I am so proud of this club. What we have done is an outstanding achievement.

“To win this trophy is to be the best team in the world and our players, our coaches, our backroom staff, all of them work hard every single day to bring us this success.

“As a manager what I am most proud of (is) that we are always there. No matter how much we win, no matter what trophies we lift, we are there again to fight for the next one.

“To win the treble was truly special but to win two more trophies and now hold these five major titles shows the unique mentality of this team, of the club and its fans.

“It is something no other English team has ever achieved and we will always remember this incredible time we spent together.”

Foden, whose cross also forced the own goal, similarly hailed a momentous night in the club’s history.

The England midfielder said on TNT Sports: “We are not used to playing in this heat so it was difficult but we are delighted with the outcome. We’re over the ‘world’.

“This one is so important for the club. It’s the first time we’ve won it. We’re delighted and it’s massive for the club.”

Foden felt Fluminense, the Copa Libertadores winners, gave City a tough night.

“It was an unbelievable match,” he said. “Fair play to them, the way they play. I love the way they play – short passes.

“They are a great side and they didn’t make it easy but I thought the lads not only showed quality but heart and determination.”

Phil Foden hailed a momentous night in Manchester City’s history after they claimed the Club World Cup for the first time.

The England midfielder was on the scoresheet as City thrashed Brazilian side Fluminense 4-0 in Friday’s final in Jeddah to add the world crown to four other trophies already won in 2023.

Foden said on TNT Sports: “We are not used to playing in this heat so it was difficult but we are delighted with the outcome. We’re over the ‘world’.

“This one is so important for the club. It’s the first time we’ve won it. We’re delighted and it’s massive for the club.”

Julian Alvarez put City on the way to their convincing victory when he opened the scoring after just 40 seconds by pouncing on a rebound after Nathan Ake struck the post.

Foden forced an own goal to double City’s lead before the break and then added the third himself.

Alvarez put the seal on the club’s latest triumph with his second, two minutes from time.

“It was unbelievable match,” Foden said. “Fair play to them, the way they play. I love the way they play – short passes.

“They are a great side and they didn’t make it easy but I thought the lads not only showed quality but heart and determination.”

Manchester City added the Club World Cup to last season’s treble with an emphatic 4-0 win over Brazilian side Fluminense in Jeddah on Friday.

Julian Alvarez struck twice, setting them on their way after just 40 seconds and wrapping up victory late on, while Phil Foden forced an own goal and grabbed the other himself.

It was manager Pep Guardiola’s fourth triumph in the competition but one that came at a cost as influential midfielder Rodri was forced off in the second half with an injury.

City, who were again without striker Erling Haaland due to a foot problem, now face an anxious wait over the Spaniard’s fitness ahead of the resumption of their Premier League title defence at Everton next Wednesday.

Rodri, who limped off after a challenge from Alexsander, has already missed four games through suspension this season and City have lost them all.

Yet for now City can celebrate their fifth trophy of 2023, having also claimed the European Super Cup in August.

They were far too strong for the ageing Copa Libertadores winners, who repeatedly invited pressure on to themselves.

City were gifted the perfect start when veteran former Real Madrid captain Marcelo – one of seven in the Fluminense starting line-up aged 33 or over – found Nathan Ake with an attempted crossfield pass from deep inside his own half.

Ake wasted no time as he thumped a long-range shot against a post and there was nothing goalkeeper Fabio could do as Alvarez crouched to make sure the rebound bounced in off his chest.

City did have a scare when Ederson gave the ball away and then brought down German Cano but were spared by an offside flag.

Apart from that, Fluminense rarely threatened and City doubled their lead when Rodri played in Foden and his ball across the box deflected off Nino and looped into the net.

Ederson was called upon to keep out a Jhon Arias header just before the break, but City almost claimed another when Jack Grealish tested Fabio from distance.

Fabio also produced a good double save to deny Foden and Bernardo Silva in quick succession early in the second half.

City’s third came as Rodri attempted to run off his injury, with Alvarez getting free down the left and crossing for Foden to slide in after 72 minutes.

Rodri was removed moments later, but Alvarez put the seal on success with a clean strike two minutes from time.

Pep Guardiola will draw on his childhood memories of watching Brazil as he aims to secure Club World Cup glory for Manchester City.

City face the Brazilian winners of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the Champions League, in Saudi Arabia on Friday for the global title.

Manager Guardiola admits City have not faced the like of Fluminense before but is familiar with their style having grown up watching and admiring some of the great Brazil sides.

The Spaniard told reporters at a press conference: “We have to be resilient because of the way they play – they will demand a lot of effort – and try to be aware and precise with the ball.

“The way they play, we’ve never faced, never. We will have to impose our rhythm and our positional game as best as possible and do a good performance, because we know without a good performance and being resilient in the bad moments it will be so difficult to win the final.

“They play a typical Brazil style from the 70s, 80s, early 90s – until 1994, when they won the World Cup in the United States.

“I love it. I love the build-up. I love how they associate between each other, the respect (they have) all of the time for the ball.

“I know perfectly the team we are going to play and I have huge respect for the essence of Brazilian football.

“When I was a little boy, not even a teenager, I listened to my dad or my people (talk about) the way that Brazil had success with all previous generations. I saw it for many, many years.”

Champions League winners City secured their place in this week’s showpiece at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

Erling Haaland will again be missing and has now officially been pulled out of City’s squad for the tournament after missing their last four competitive games with a foot injury.

Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku, who were both training with the squad as they step up their returns to fitness, will also not feature but City remain firm favourites.

Guardiola said: “The players, of course, are ready. They know how important it is and what a pleasure it is to be here.”

Pep Guardiola urged his Manchester City players to seize a potential “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity after reaching the Club World Cup final.

The Champions League winners set up a clash with Brazilian side Fluminense in Friday’s showpiece in Jeddah with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

City needed an own goal in first-half stoppage time to get their campaign up and running in Saudi Arabia, but strikes from Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva after the break secured a straightforward victory.

City manager Guardiola told reporters at a press conference said: “We didn’t win it (before) – it’s the first time Manchester City are here.

“This is the last step – a title the club doesn’t have, so we’ll go for it.

“To play this final you have to have done incredible things – mainly to win the Champions League.

“Once we are here, maybe it is a trophy we play for once in a lifetime.

“It’s against Fluminense, a South American team, experienced, a lot of quality. I saw yesterday how good they are.

“But we are there. Tomorrow we will start to see Fluminense and try to do a good performance and win the title.”

City were without Erling Haaland for a fourth successive game due to a foot injury but were still far too strong for the Asian Champions League winners.

They had already created numerous chances before defender Marius Hoibraten turned into his own net to give City the lead.

Reds boss Maciej Skorza said: “They are the best team in the world in my opinion, but our plan didn’t work in the perfect way.

“We expected that possession would be huge in favour of Manchester City. We had our plan for counter-attacks, but this didn’t happen.

“Maybe this is the big difference in the physical aspect between the two teams and lack of experience of playing teams like City.”

Manchester City eased into the final of the Club World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

Without Erling Haaland, the Champions League winners needed an own goal to launch their campaign in Saudi Arabia but second-half strikes from Mateo Kovavic and Bernardo Silva saw them stroll to victory.

Having already added the European Super Cup to last season’s treble, City will now have the chance to claim a fifth trophy of the calendar year when they face Brazil’s Fluminese in Friday’s final in Jeddah.

With Urawa showing limited ambition against City’s formidable line-up, the only surprise was the game remained goalless until first-half stoppage time.

City may have been without a recognised centre forward in Haaland’s continued absence due to a foot injury, but the Reds defence was given little respite and goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa had a busy night.

Rodri had City’s first attempt on goal when he fired wide after eight minutes and he had another effort deflected past the post after Silva shot over.

Nishikawa did well to turn over from Matheus Nunes on the half-hour and he denied both the Portugal international again and Phil Foden from distance.

City finally claimed the breakthrough their play deserved just before the interval, although they did benefit from a stroke of luck.

Nunes broke down the right and exchanged passes with Silva before driving the ball low towards goal, where it was turned into his own net by Norwegian defender Marius Hoibraten.

With their lead established, City tightened their grip after the break.

Kyle Walker played Kovacic into space for the Croatia midfielder to lift the ball over Nishikawa for the second after 52 minutes.

Nunes should have added another moments later but headed wide from a Jack Grealish cross.

The third came just before the hour after Nishikawa pushed away another Nunes effort and Silva drove in the rebound with the aid of a deflection.

Guardiola began to make changes in the latter stages as he looked ahead to the final.

One of the substitutes, Julian Alvarez, was denied by Nishikawa at point-blank range and Grealish squandered another chance by delaying his shot.

Urawa had a couple of late chances as City eased up but John Stones cleared after Bryan Linssen seized on a poor backpass and Ederson denied Shoya Nakajima with his feet.

Fluminense rode their luck as they progressed into the FIFA Club World Cup final with a 2-0 victory over Al Ahly in Jeddah.

Jhon Arias converted a 71st-minute penalty awarded when Marcelo was hacked down by Percy Tau, but the goal came in a second half controlled by the Egyptian champions until they ran out of steam.

Tau was presented with a superb chance to redeem himself soon after but his shot failed to match the quality of the long ball played in by Hussein El Shahat.

Veteran midfielder Felipe Melo had to come to Fluminense’s rescue earlier in the half, El Shahat forced a save from Fabio and Mohamed Hany also went close.

Al Ahly were open to the counter attack as they searched for the equaliser and while German Cano was kept out, John Kennedy produced a fine finish after being picked out by Matheus Martinelli for the Brazilians’ second.

Fluminense, making their debut in the competition, will face either Manchester City or Urawa Red Diamonds in Friday’s final at King Abdullah Sports City.

Pep Guardiola has called for change as the fixture burden on players continues to increase.

The Manchester City manager was speaking in light of FIFA’s decision to expand the Club World Cup to a 32-team tournament from 2025.

Guardiola insists he is not against the new event in principle – and City are already guaranteed a place – but he feels something has to give somewhere to ease the workload on players.

The Spaniard told reporters at a press conference: “I am not against the new competitions. I am against the lack of time to recover from year to year.

“This is what I am complaining (about) all the time. For me it doesn’t matter to play every three days, six days, seven days. It is OK.

“But it is really tough to finish the season and then in three weeks restart again and go to Asia, to be financially stable, or the States. That is really, really tough, for ourselves and especially for the players. For myself, things should change. This is my point.

“But how do you change when (after) you finish the season, you go to the States to play another competition? This is the problem.”

Guardiola was speaking in Saudi Arabia, where Champions League winners City are preparing for this year’s edition of the Club World Cup.

They face Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, the Asian champions, in their semi-final in Jeddah on Tuesday.

“It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s an honour,” said Guardiola.

“It’s the first time Man City are here. That shows how difficult it is. We won’t take it for granted. We take it as a privilege.

“Of course we want to win it. It is a trophy we don’t have. We want to close a little circle, that we have won all the trophies we could do. This is the last one.”

Midfielder Bernardo Silva admitted the schedule facing players at the top level was difficult but was not complaining.

The Portuguese said: “We were not consulted but we try to do our jobs, to represent our clubs the best possible way, and the people that pay our salaries and the fans that support us.

“The reality is the amount of games we have nowadays, and even more with the new competitions, if you look at it, it is a bit crazy because of the rest that players get and the risk of injury is up quite a lot.

“At the end we cannot complain because we earn a lot of money but in my opinion, for the people that love the game, and are entertained by the game, if we have this many games for so long, at the end the games will lose the energy and the intensity.”

City again seem likely to be without striker Erling Haaland, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury. Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku are also with the squad as they near returns to action but they are not expected to play.

Pep Guardiola wants to “close a little circle” and add the Club World Cup to Manchester City’s trophy haul.

City, who claimed a glorious treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup last season, are in Saudi Arabia for the global competition this week.

They face Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, the Asian champions, in their semi-final in Jeddah on Tuesday hoping to secure a place in Friday’s final.

City are strong favourites for the tournament but manager Guardiola insists it is far from a foregone conclusion.

Guardiola told reporters at his pre-match press conference: “It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s an honour.

“It’s the first time Man City are here. That shows how difficult it is. We won’t take it for granted. We take it as a privilege.

“Of course we want to win it. It is a trophy we don’t have. We want to close a little circle, that we have won all the trophies we could do. This is the last one.

“I don’t know if we’ll have another chance. Maybe it is a once in a lifetime. It is difficult to be here.

“I think the players know it and we are going to try to perform well tomorrow.”

City’s recent form has been inconsistent with just one win in their last six Premier League games.

Their latest frustrating result came on Saturday as they were pegged back by two late goals to draw 2-2 against Crystal Palace.

That left them five points behind leaders Arsenal but Guardiola is not concerned about performances.

He said: “We prefer better results but, except the Aston Villa game, our performances were excellent.

“We have to improve how we finish our games, be more aware of what we have to do in certain moments but hopefully we can maintain our level of passion and desire to play at a high level with and without the ball against Urawa.”

City are waiting on the fitness of striker Erling Haaland, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury.

Kevin De Bruyne and Jeremy Doku have travelled with the squad as they near returns from injury but are unlikely to play.

Midfielder Bernardo Silva said: “Erling is a big player for us, we can’t deny that, but the big strength at City in my time here is, no matter who is missing, we are the same team and we fight for all the titles.”

Silva insisted there was no lack of motivation among the players for the tournament.

He said: “When you play the FIFA Club World Cup there is no tiredness. We are motivated to come here and play the competition.”

Al Ahly turned on the style in the second half to sweep aside Karim Benzema’s Al-Ittihad 3-1 and secure a place in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals.

Benzema missed a penalty that would have levelled the score at 1-1 just before half-time and the Saudi Pro League champions paid a heavy price for the wastefulness of their France striker.

Ali Maaloul had fired Al Ahly ahead from the spot – both penalties were awarded for handball – but it was the period after half-time that set the Egyptians apart.

First to strike at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium was Hussein El Shahat with a curling shot into right of the goal that gave keeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf no chance.

And then came a slick finish by Emam Ashour after he had presented with a cutback by Kahraba.

Al Ahly suffered a late setback when Anthony Modeste was sent off for use of the elbow, meaning he will not be available for the semi-final against Fluminense, before Benzema grabbed a late consolation.

Alex Schalk stepped off the bench to propel Urawa Red Diamonds into the FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over Club Leon in Saudi Arabia.

Schalk combined with Jose Kante in the 78th minute, just five minutes after coming on, to break the deadlock in a match which produced few chances at either end.

The Dutch forward chested a long ball to Kante and upon picking up the return pass, he fended off two defenders and stabbed the ball past Rodolfo Cota.

Cota should have done better but the keeper at least made amends with a fine save to prevent Schalk scoring a second late on.

Club Leon’s prospects’ dimmed when captain William Tesillo was sent off for a second bookable offence after hacking down Schalk with six minutes to go.

Manchester City await the Japanese J1 League club in the next round at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium.

Karim Benzema created Club World Cup history by becoming the first player to score in four editions of the tournament as Al-Ittihad booked their place in the second round.

The former France international netted for the Saudi Pro League outfit as they won their first-round tie with Auckland City 3-0.

Benzema, who has enjoyed success in this competition with Real Madrid, put the finishing touches on victory that sets up a second-round match with Al Ahly.

The game was won with three goals in 11 first-half minutes.

Romarinho opened the scoring in the 29th minute with a deflected effort before former Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante doubled the lead five minutes later.

Benzema completed the scoring frenzy in the 40th minute to set up Friday’s tie with the African champions.

Gianni Infantino believes there should be "way more" football as he defended FIFA's expansion of the World Cup and new Club World Cup proposal.

Infantino was re-elected as FIFA president at the FIFA Congress on Thursday after running unopposed.

FIFA confirmed earlier this week that the 2026 World Cup will consist of 48 teams, up from 32, split into 12 groups of four, while plans were also confirmed for an expanded Club World Cup containing 32 teams.

Speaking at the Congress in Rwanda, Infantino said: "When I hear there is too much football, yes, maybe in some places, but not everywhere. In fact, in most parts of the world there is not enough football played.

"We need way more and not less competitions, we want football to develop worldwide.

"We are discussing organising a women's Club World Cup and a FIFA World Series in March every two years, when teams are free from playing qualifiers."

He also later pointed to the English football calendar as well as the Super Cup tournaments in Italian and Spanish football, believing that there is less criticism of others from the media than there is of FIFA, which was a theme of the president's closing remarks.

Infantino also addressed previous controversial comments he believed had been falsely reported, including at the World Cup where he accused reporters of racism for criticising the host country of Qatar.

"I think I called racists those who were qualifying fans who had different skin colour of fans who were cheering European teams as not real fans, that's when I used the word 'racist', and I stick to that," he said.

He had also appeared to compare his refusal to give up on becoming FIFA president with Rwandan genocide in his opening remarks on Thursday, but was quick to quash this suggestion when it was put to him by The Athletic's Matt Slater at the closing press conference.

"I find it really incredible that you can interpret what I say as making an association with one of the most terrible tragedies that happened with anything that happened in my life," he said.

"I would never make a comparison with a tragedy and my life. What I want to say is that this country is so inspiring for so many people that when we come with our little problems, we should just be a bit more humble about things. That's all that I said."

LaLiga has spoken out against FIFA over plans to reshape the structure of the 2026 World Cup into four-team groups.

Football's governing body had originally intended to have 16 groups of three teams after expanding from 32 to 48 nations for the tournament jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

However, following the Qatar 2022 edition, plans to maintain the current four-team system resurfaced and have now been rubber-stamped at FIFA's annual congress.

The decision has enraged LaLiga however, with the competition set to expand to 104 games from 64.

LaLiga has also objected to plans for a new international club tournament, which will join an expanded Club World Cup on the football calendar. The latter is due to take place every four years starting from 2025, but an as-yet-unnamed additional event is set to take place annually alongside it.

"Following the announcements made today at the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, LaLiga states that FIFA continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar," read a statement.

"[FIFA is] showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general. FIFA completely neglects the economic damage these decisions inflict on leagues around the world.

"Leagues were not consulted about any of the changes presented, especially about the new annual club competition, of which we were completely unaware, and which seriously affects our competitions.

"These decisions do not take into account the competitive, sporting and economic impact on national leagues, clubs and players, by further cramming an already overloaded schedule.

"LaLiga and other leagues represented in the World Leagues Forum will analyse FIFA's decisions and decide on the most appropriate next steps."

Under the three-team World Cup group structure, all nations would have played two games before the top pair from each group would have proceeded to a round-of-32.

Now however, the eight best-ranked third-place sides from 12 groups will also be included in the mix, with the revised format ensuring every side plays at least three games.

It also means those who reach the final will play eight games, including the showpiece match itself, one more than teams who reach the end of the tournament currently partake in.

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