Monday 31 January 2022, 14:00

The FIFA Club World Cup in numbers

  • We unearth some intriguing stats from the 17 previous editions of the tournament

  • Aboutrika, Kroos, Messi, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Rooney and Suarez star

  • Goal-fests, goal-to-game ratios, a 17-year-old and a veteran also feature


Al Ain’s Mohamed Ahmed took merely 79 seconds to score the fastest goal from kick-off in FIFA Club World Cup™ history against Esperance in 2018. It broke Diego Tardelli’s record, set for Atletico Mineiro against Guangzhou Evergrande in 2013, by 32 seconds.


Oscar Perez kept goal for Pachuca against Gremio in the UAE 2017 semi-finals at the age of 44 years and ten months, making him the oldest player to appear in the tournament by over five years. He is followed by 39-year-olds Mitsuo Ogasawara, Miguel Calero, Ante Covic and Paolo Maldini.

Oscar Perez in action for Pachuca at UAE 2017


Seventeen years and three months was the age at which Alexandre Pato broke Pele’s record – set for Brazil against Wales at Sweden 1958 – to become the youngest scorer in a senior FIFA men’s tournament. Pato had never even made a professional appearance when he was named in Internacional’s Japan 2006 squad, though he netted one minute into his debut three days later. Javier Zanetti, who was 37, is the competition’s oldest marksman.

Luiz Adriano and Alexandre Pato of Internacional at Japan 2006


Twelve players boast an average of at least one goal per game at the Club World Cup. They are Luis Suarez (2.5), Wayne Rooney (1.5), Rafael Santos Borre (1.5), Hamdou Elhouni (1.5), Denilson (1.33), Gareth Bale (1.0), Lionel Messi (1.0), Nicolas Anelka (1.0), Washington (1.0), Mauricio Molina (1.0), Baghdad Bounedjah (1.0) and Andre-Pierre Gignac (1.0).

Gareth Bale with the match ball after Real Madrid’s UAE 2018 semi-final


Brazil has been represented in the tournament by a record nine clubs: Corinthians, Vasco da Gama, Sao Paulo, Internacional, Santos, Atletico Mineiro, Gremio, Flamengo and Palmeiras. Mexico are next on eight, with England the leading Europeans on three thanks to Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Auckland City have appeared in the Club World Cup on an unparalleled nine occasions, with Al Ahly, who are set for their seventh participation, their closest rivals.


Gamba Osaka 3-5 Manchester United in 2008 and Al Sadd 2-6 Esperance in 2019 are the joint-highest-scoring matches in the competition’s history. Two finals have produced an unparalleled six goals: AC Milan 4-2 Boca Juniors in 2007 and Real Madrid 4-2 Kashima Antlers in 2016.


Cristiano Ronaldo is the seven-goal leading scorer in the competition’s history, having netted once for Manchester United in 2008, four times for Real Madrid in 2016 and twice for the same side the following year. Gareth Bale is next on six, with Cesar Delgado, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on five apiece. All of the Uruguayan’s goals came at Japan 2015, making him the leading marksman at one edition.


Six players have lifted the trophy with different clubs: Dida (Corinthians and AC Milan), Danilo (Sao Paulo and Corinthians), Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona and Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Bayern and Real Madrid), Ronaldo (Manchester United and Madrid) and Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich and Liverpool). Kroos is the only player to collect five Club World Cup winners’ medals. The elegant midfielder helped Bayern Munich conquer in 2013 and Real Madrid do so four times thereafter.

Toni Kroos lines up with the Bayern team for a pre-match photo at Morocco 2013


Five players have scored for multiple clubs in the Club World Cup: Dwight Yorke (Manchester United and Sydney FC), Neri Cardozo (Boca Juniors and Monterrey), Ronaldinho (Barcelona and Atletico Mineiro), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Real Madrid) and Tsukasa Shiotani (Sanfrecce Hiroshima and Al Ain).

Ronaldinho celebrates scoring for Barcelona at Japan 2006


The first five finals only involved clubs from Europe and South America. Thereafter, however, five of the last 11 deciders have included a team from outside those continents, with TP Mazembe, Raja Casablanca, Kashima Antlers, Al Ain and Tigres the sides in question. The Antlers went the closest to lifting the trophy, leading Real Madrid after an hour in 2016 only to be unravelled by a Ronaldo treble, two of which came in extra-time.


UAE 2018 produced a staggering 4.1 goals per game on average – comfortably a record for a Club World Cup. The next highest average is 3.75 from Qatar 2019.


Four players have hit hat-tricks at the event: Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Hamdou Elhouni. Ronaldo is the only man to register a treble in a final.


Three players have won the FIFA World Cup™ and Club World Cup in the same year: Germans Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos in 2014, and Frenchman Raphael Varane in 2018. Another 12 players won the Intercontinental Cup – a predecessor to this tournament – in the same year as they became world champions with their national teams: Gilmar, Mauro, Zito, Mengalvio, Pepe, Pele and Coutinho in 1962, Nery Pumpido, Oscar Ruggeri and Hector Enrique in 1986, and Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo in 2002.


Lionel Messi is the only player to win two adidas Golden Balls at the Club World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo has been on the awards’ podium a record four times, winning one Golden Ball and three Bronze Balls. Brazilians have won an unprecedented four Golden Balls, courtesy of Edilson, Rogerio Ceni, Kaka and Cassio, with no other nationality seizing more than two.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Xavi with their awards at Japan 2011


Mohamed Aboutrika has scored two free-kicks at the Club World Cup, delightful yet different efforts against Auckland City and America in 2006. No other player has registered more than one free-kick in the competition.


Just two of the 26 clubs to have multiple Club World Cup participations have emerged victorious on each occasion. Dida, Marcelinho Carioca, Edilson and Co inspired Corinthians to glory in 2000, while the heroics of Cassio were central to O Timão conquering again in 2012. Franck Ribery was the headliner as Bayern Munich lifted the trophy in 2013, before Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski propelled them to glory again at Qatar 2020.