MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10: Carles Puyol (C) Javi Hernandez (L) and Gerard Pique celebrate after Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1 during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 10, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)2011 Getty Images
MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10: Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona celebrate after Barcelona scoring Barcelona's 2nd goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 10, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)2011 Getty Images
OK, I take back what I wrote in my most recent column about Barcelona.
They are the best club soccer team of all-time.
Why the turnaround?
After waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. ET on Sunday to watch the Club World Cup from Yokohama, Japan, I was simply mesmerized by the brilliance, sheer brilliance by Barca.
It's one thing to play well.
It's another thing to score a lot of goals and win.
But it's another matter altogether to combine the two and entertain the public and do it consistently, not for a game, not for a week, not for a month, and even not for a season, but for years and years with substance and style at the highest of levels.
On Sunday, Barcelona accomplished that fear against the best that South America had to offer -- its champion, Santos -- in a 4-0 drubbing that was not even as close as the final score might indicate. For the record, Lionel Messi, quite appropriately, started and closed out the rout with goals, and Xavi and Cesc Fabregas added scores of their own.
The final did not live up to its hype at the International Soccer Stadium in Yokohama as it turned into a clinic because Barcelona honored the beautiful game, with well, a beautiful display of soccer.
Neymar, Santos' talented 19-year-old striker, said it best.
"Barcelona taught us how to play soccer today," he told Fox Soccer Channel. "Barcelona is clearly the best team in the world."
By halftime, Barca had forged an amazing 3-0 advantage as Fabregas scored a goal that displayed the skill, teamwork and the determination of the Spanish side.
Until then the Brazilian team had at least a mathematical chance of coming back -- we all have heard of a two-goal lead behind the best dangerous in soccer -- but Barcelona essentially closed out the game in the 45th minute.
Messi got the ball in the penalty area and he was knocked off balance by a Santos defender. Instead of taking the easy way out and falling the ball ground to try to draw a penalty, Messi kept his balance and backheeled the ball overlapping defender Dani Alves on the right side. Alves took a shot from a severe angle that goalkeeper Rafael Cabral blocked. The ball came to Thiago on the left side of the area and he snapped a header that Cabral blocked. The rebound went to Fabregas, who made sure he was not going to miss and Barca had a 3-0 lead.
Soccer is far from a game of statistics, but here is one that was must telling: Barca held the ball for 85 percent -- that's no mistake - 85 percent -- of the time against a pretty decent South American side in the first half. After Santos tried to make a game of it and vainly get on the score sheet in the second half, the number went down to 71 percent for the match. Again, still an impressive figure for any level, let alone against Santos.
As any soccer player and fan knows, it is much more fun and easier to possess the ball and knock it around than to chase it, which essentially defined what transpired in the first half.
The second half turned into a shooting gallery, with Barcelona coming quite close on several occasions.
After writing about Barcelona so much over the past five years, I have feared I might run out of superlatives to describe this astounding team. So, I will only use adjectives with alliteration to describe Barcelona players.
Dangerous Dani Alves.
Give Barcelona, current coach Pep Guardiola and his predecessor, Frank Rijkaard, a lot of credit for assembling such an impressive, talented, overpowering and entertaining side.
It's easy to throw money at players and hope they all come together to form a super club.
It's a lot more difficult to make these players not only perform well together with their various styles, temperaments and egos.
To get them to stand out at such a lofty level over a period of years is simply mind-boggling.
Let's face it, Barcelona makes it look easy.
During its incredible six-year run, Barcelona has won 16 major titles and trophies. On Sunday, the La Liga powerhouse added No. 3 for this season, joining its UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup crowns to its burgeoning collection of silverware.
And there is plenty of room in the club's trophy room for some more hardware it is eyeing -- La Liga, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey Barcelona meets L'Hospitalet in Copa del Rey on Thursday before taking a deserved Christmas break. Barca returns to action against Espanyol on Jan. 8.
There is so much more to be accomplished with the La Liga race heating up (Barca trails archrival Real Madrid by three points with the next El clasico set for April 22 at Camp Nou), the UEFA Champions League and Copa Dely Rey.
Just more time for Barca to add more trophies and lore to its legendary team.