[CLUB WORLD CUP]
Barcelona has already won five trophies in 2009 but a sixth may prove more elusive. The Spanish giant, which opens play in the semifinals of the
Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday against Mexico's Atlante (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, 11 a.m. ET), has never won the international club championship and in the words of its coach
arrived "exhausted" after a 1-0 Catalan "derbi" win over Espanyol.
Barcelona, which has already won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the
Spanish Super Cup and the European Super Cup, is very conscious of its place in history and is taking the trip to the UAE seriously, even if its means a disruption in its tight La Liga race with
"There's no need to obsess over it, but to be remembered as great you have to win the Club World Cup," Barcelona sport director Txiki Begiristain
said. "The truth is that we would like it very much because it's the only title that Barcelona is missing."
Star Lionel Messi
is injured and may not start against Atlante, whose lineup includes former Real Madrid star Santiago Solari
"They're not only the best in the world the last year and a half for their play and results, but this Barcelona is also one of the best teams in the history of soccer," said Solari,
who played one season at NCAA Division III Richard Stockton College. "You have to take your sombrero off to them."
In its most recent appearance, Barca fell to Internacional
of Brazil, 1-0, in the 2006 final.