Manchester City aiming to complete the set with Club World Cup triumph
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says winning the Club World Cup will ‘close the little circle’ and complete the club’s coruscating trophy cabinet.

Guardiola, the most successful manager in Man City history, has won 15 major trophies with the club since 2016, with the Club World Cup, a trophy the Spaniard won twice with Barcelona and once with Bayern Munich, the only piece of silverware eluding his grasp.

Should City attain the trophy in Saudi Arabia this week, they would become the first English club to win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Super Cup and Club World Cup in the same year.

“It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s the first time Man City is here," Guardiola said ahead of City's semi-final against Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds. "We don’t take it for granted, it’s a privilege, an honour to be here.

“We know how hard it is to win this competition and you have to have done something special in the past. It is my fourth time I have played this competition and the previous times, the semi-final was really tough, really tricky every time.

“We want to win it. Once we are here, it is a trophy we do not have. We want to close the little circle and win all the trophies we could do. This is the last one.”

City won a historic Treble last season, becoming the second English team to achieve the feat (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images
City won a historic Treble last season, becoming the second English team to achieve the feat (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

This year's edition will be the last of its nature after FIFA announced the revamping of the competition in March.

The expanded tournament, which will begin in 2025 in the United States, will host 32 teams, with a maximum of two clubs from each country. City and Chelsea, two of 12 European entrants, will be  England's representatives as the most recent Champions League winners.

On the competition's new format, Guardiola said: "There is a lot of games, yes, what can I do? I prefer to think that at the end of the [next] season I guess we will fly to the States hopefully with the families and everyone and play the Club World Cup there as well as possible.

"The World Cup before was less teams now the World Cup is a lot of teams. People wouldn’t think of a World Cup in Qatar many years ago but it happened. In many years the World Cup will come here. Just to adjust with that and align with people … I’m saying the same.

"I am not against new competitions. I am against the lack of time to recover year by year. This is what I’m complaining about. For me it doesn’t matter to play every three days, six days, seven days, it is okay. But it is really, really tough to finish the season and in three weeks you have to restart again and go to Asia to be financially stable all the clubs, or go to States, or wherever, it's really tough for myself but especially for the players and I think this should change."

  • 'The Saudi League improvement has been massive'

Bernardo Silva has not ruled out a future transfer to Saudi Arabia but insisted he is happy playing at the highest level in Europe.

The Portuguese international, who signed a new contract in August, was targeted by Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal - one of four clubs owned by the country's Public Investment Fund - in the summer.

But, despite the temptations of the Saudi riches, the 29-year-old remains focused at the Etihad.

He said: "The Saudi league improvement has been massive when you compare now to a year ago. It's because of all the investment, and from what we hear it’s not going to stop - so the league is probably going to develop a lot. For now I am focused at Manchester City  and very happy playing European football, which in my opinion is the highest level."

(Photo by David Damnjanovic/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
(Photo by David Damnjanovic/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
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