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Barcelona plays down favorites tag

Barcelona plays down favorites tag

Spanish giants Barcelona have played down their billing as favorites for the prestigious Club World Cup, which kicks off tomorrow.
The European champions head to Japan with two-time World Player of the Year Ronaldinho in rampant form but coach Frank Rijkaard said his team would take nothing for granted.
"I can already see the headlines saying that we are the favorites, but I think that makes it all the more complicated for us," Rijkaard said.
The Spanish giants have never won an intercontinental title and go into the end-of-year mini-tournament hoping to go one better than Johan Cruyff's dream team, which lost 2-1 to Sao Paulo in 1992.
Brazil's Internacional are the main threat with Asian champions Jeonbuk Motors, Club America, Al Ahly and Auckland City hoping to play well.
While Barcelona are missing injured forwards Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho appears back to his best after a disappointing World Cup.
The Brazilian has netted 10 times already in La Liga and underlined his resurgence with an impudent strike in the crucial mid-week win over Werder Bremen.
"This year I wanted to win the league, the Champions League, the World Cup, and the Club World Cup. Unfortunately it proved beyond us in Germany, but that makes me even more determined not to miss out in December's tournament," Ronaldinho said.
Internacional showed they were taking the competition seriously by resting their top players for the final Brazilian league match last weekend.
However a 4-1 hammering by Goias, which left them a distant second behind Club World Cup holders Sao Paulo, will not have boosted confidence.
Inter, like Barcelona, enter the competition in the semi-finals where they will take on either African champions Al Ahly or Auckland City next week.
Egypt's Al Ahly are determined to improve on last year's bottom place and warmed up with a 5-1 win over Olympic which put them top of the domestic league.
Meanwhile South Korea's Jeonbuk are riding high from their surprise Asian victory as they prepare to take on Club America, the CONCACAF champions from Mexico.