River boss Gallardo in training on Friday / FIFA

River Plate have no problems in labelling FC Barcelona as favourites for the Club World Cup in Japan just 24 hours before the two teams meet in the final in Yokohama. Marcelo Gallardo, coach of ‘los millionarios’, said in his pre-game press conference, “Barça have the best players and we have a great heart.”

The River Plate boss admitted: “I would like the team to have come into the final in better shape,” however, the Argentines are not throwing in the towel just yet though, Gallardo highlighting their “winning mentality” and their ability to be “intense and intelligent.” Nevertheless, he admitted that they would have to produce a “perfect game” to win.

Gallardo commented on Barça’s strength as a team beyond the players’ individual abilities. On the Messi-Suárez-Neymar combination he said: “We think all three will play, if they don’t then that is a bonus for us.”

Goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero, hero of the semi-final win over Sanrecce Hiroshima, added: “It’s a unique game for us. We will try to be up to the challenge and compete against the best team in the world and in history.”

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