What Does Chelsea’s Club World Cup Loss Really Mean?

Looking across the internet, there seems to be mixed views on the meaning of Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Corinthians in the Club World Cup Final; the first time a winner of the Champions League has not won the competition since 2006. Mostly there are two camps. The first is saying that it’s a worthless trophy and who cares if Chelsea lost, stick to domestic competitions. The second camp argues that although not the most important of trophies, a cup is a cup and would have placed Benitez in a rather strong position at the start of his Chelsea career; instead he is facing questions as to why his team lost to a rather mediocre Brazilian side. So, what are the real consequences of the loss?

Corinthians celebrate their FIFA Club World Cup win.


1. Financial:

Prize money for this tournament is $5 million. A measly sum for the club’s rich owners, amplified by the face that second place actually grants a reward of $4 million. So that’s a loss of $1 million, or just over £600,000. Oh how that would effect Chelsea, they could have bought just over 1% of Torres for that! Obviously I’m being sarcastic, so it’s clearly not about prize money.

A few Chelsea fans did travel to Japan, but were muted by the Brazilians.

A few Chelsea fans did travel to Japan.

Ticket sales? If you took one look at the crowd in the final, the blinding majority was in favour of the Corinthians. Meaning that Chelsea got a maximum of a matter of thousands from ticket sales. Credit to those who did go; but it meant nothing to Chelsea Football Club as a whole.

So. Finances? Well, no one was ever really going to care at a club like Chelsea; but even a team in the fiscal position of Everton wouldn’t have many sleepless nights about monetary issues from a final loss. It seems that this particular loss is likely to have a rather insignificant impact on the club.


2. Reputation:

Domestically, the news story isn’t likely to make any real headlines; it’s completely fair comment to say who cares? Even if the players were apparently completely fired up to win (which I’m sure they weren’t), Chelsea are a prestigious team with far greater goals. Still clinging onto the title race and soon to enter the FA Cup, plus a likely League Cup win on the way, the CWC is clearly bottom of their priorities. I’m sure you’d struggle to find a true Chelsea fan in the country who would spit his dummy out over a bias toward these domestic trophies.

Chelsea need to turn concentration back to domestic competitions

Chelsea need to turn concentration back to domestic competitions.

It’s always nice for teams to branch out into areas who’s leagues aren’t particularly strong. For this, Man United have taken much of the East, with Arsenal taking most of Africa. Arguably, through much of the rest of the world, the leagues are strong enough to warrant large levels of domestic team support (illustrated by the mass turn out of fans for the Brazilian side Corinthians). So, there’s clearly money in it. But football isn’t all about money, a growing fan base is great. Clearly, knowledge of the team is always going to be a good thing, however Chelsea’s global reputation may have been tarnished by this loss. Thus, it seems that Chelsea won’t be gaining many sales in their memorabilia department this Christmas.

From the small prize money involved, I think it seems clear that reputation is the main issue with the Club World Cup. However, this is more the reputation of football as a sport than of individual teams. It’s the encouragement of football across the rest of the world, in Asia, Africa and Oceania in particular; an invitation, ‘Come and play with the big boys of Europe’. And for that, it works. However, the impact of this on Chelsea? Nothing. If anything, it shows the team that they are the greatest, that as the European team, they already have status; hence the lack of commitment or real bite to Chelsea’s performances.


3. Rafael Benítez:

Benitez may be entering tricky times as a result of today's loss.

Benitez may be entering tricky times as a result of today’s loss.

Now this is the only person that this competition had real importance to. A trophy within weeks of taking charge? A huge boost. A loss in a final in which your team should be favourites? Questions arise immediately: Would Di Matteo have encouraged stronger performances? Has the disappointment at his employment from many fans just been proved? Has he only been brought in to inspire Torres and will this effect the rest of the team and their work ethic? These are all questions that Rafa will now be faced with. Unfortunate for him as he has merely accepted a job vacancy, but still, his team really should have beaten Corinthians in my opinion.


Time to actually answer my original question then… How has the loss affected Chelsea? It seems very minimal for the club as a whole. However, for Benítez, it could mark the start of a disastrous career for Chelsea, with questions rising almost immediately. For the sake of the sport, I hope that Rafa does sort things out quickly, as I’m not sure the footballing world can’t handle another high-profile sacking from Abramovic. Anyway, it’s understandable that Chelsea fans are saying that they don’t care about the loss, because really, it’s not important for the future of the fans in general as long as domestic form remains solid.

So to conclude in one sentence: Chelsea fans have every right not to care about this loss; but Rafa should be looking to rectify any issues that the match highlighted and quick.

10 thoughts on “What Does Chelsea’s Club World Cup Loss Really Mean?

    • Of course it would have helped, but the players never really looked like they cared that much! To be honest, I’m actually a fan of Rafa’s, but I feel the media tends to be quick to criticise managers at the moment, so he’s probably got some hard questions coming his way! I wrote an article a few posts back about managers and the media that’d probably explain my point better.

      Thanks for reading!

  1. I regret when this article says this is not an important championship for Chelsea…remember, it were for all the Europeans that once at least had won it. To accept that is to be humble and learn to loose, recognize when beaten by a better team, in this case Corinthians. The Chelsea starting line up wasn’t formed by substitutes, they tried to score as well.
    Maybe the amount of money on it may not represent much for the billionaire that owns the club, but there is prestige on it indeed. To face the best of south America is to prove, since the 60’s, who deserve the the title of best club. And if it doesn’t matter, I guess it should be canceled long ago…but since Chelsea couldn’t make it, they have to find an excuse to ignore the facts.
    Last but not the least, Corinthians represents the biggest club in America’s, with more than 30million supporters around Brazil, unbeaten south American champion, 8 times Brazilian champion if that means “mediocre” for the article editor’s, what is Chelsea? A suburb club that eventually appears on tv? Come on, be true to yourselves.

    • You raise a good point. However, in response to the argument that Corinthians were the better team on the day and that Chelsea did attempt to score; did you see the Arsenal vs Bradford City League Cup match last week? The Arsenal team was worth £65 million and the Bradford team worth around one per cent of that. However, Bradford, the team three divisions below won the match. Was it because Bradford are a better team? Of course not. Was it because Arsenal didn’t want to score? Of course not. Football is about heart; the Bradford players had something to play for. The League Cup is the lowest competition Arsenal have entered this year and yes, it would have been nice to win it (just as it would have been for Chelsea against Corinthians), but the players had no drive. Does that mean Arsenal are a worse team than Bradford? Once again; of course not. The exact same principles can be placed upon the Chelsea vs Corinthians game.
      And as I stated in the article, my belief is that this trophy was created by FIFA to encourage the spread of football across the world; not for reputation of individual clubs; if you disagree, that’s your opinion but my belief on that stands firm.
      And no offence, but the Brazilian league cannot be classed in the same standards as many of the European leagues. Does the fact that most people support the same team and that this team wins the majority of the time not seem like a rather boring issue in Brazilian football? Think about England; there are of course both Manchester clubs, of course Chelsea and then many other teams capable of making a real impact on the league. Look toward Spain; you have Real Madrid and Barcelona showing as two of Europe’s greatest teams. Germany; you have Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Leverkusen. In Italy; you see the Milan teams, Juventus, the list goes on! The only comparable team to Corinthians is Celtic in the Scottish league. They trounce it every year and have a huge level of support. And you know why? It’s because of a lack of competition from every other team. Does that make Celtic anything more than a ‘mediocre’ team? No. It makes them the best team in Scotland, but a slightly-above-average team in comparison to the rest of the footballing world; just like Corinthians.

      • “And no offence, but the Brazilian league cannot be classed in the same standards as many of the European leagues.”

        Dude, are you for real? Do you know how many time has Brazil won the World Cup? We are talking about B R A Z I L here, the goddamn “land of football”.

        “No. It makes them the best team in Scotland, but a slightly-above-average team in comparison to the rest of the footballing world; just like Corinthians.”

        HA! So the current best team in BRAZIL plays as well as the best team in Scotland.
        You can’t be serious. Are you really comparing Scotland’s football to Brazilian football?
        my friend, google “Brazilian national team” and lecture yourself.
        Keep dreaming about Premier League being the best league in the world and Fernando Torres being the best striker. you are really living in lalala land. where do you think the best Brazilian players in Europe have started their careers? Where do you think Chelsea’s Oscar used to play just one year ago?

        it’s only natural that the country which have won the world cup 5 times would beat Chelsea as well.

      • Mate, your argument is completely twisted. I’m not saying Brazilian football as a nation is poor. I’m saying the league itself is poor. To say ‘where do you think Chelsea’s Oscar used to play just one year ago?’ is ridiculous. HE LEFT BRAZIL TO MOVE TO EUROPE. You’re just strengthening my argument that Europe has the better leagues. No, I’m not saying Scottish football is as good as Brazilian football, I’m not stupid. I’m saying Corinthians are not all that much different to Celtic. And I’m not a Chelsea supporter, I don’t think Torres is the best striker in the world, I actually support Arsenal. If you want my honest opinion, the best striker in the world is Van Persie who… PLAYS IN THE ENGLISH LEAGUE. The same goes for every position; all the top players are in Europe, where they are from is not important, it’s where they want to be that is important. Yes, Brazil is a nation of incredible footballers, but they move to Europe. Besides, Spain are far better at the moment anyway. As are Germany. My argument isn’t that Corinthians aren’t a good team. My argument was never about that. My argument is that Chelsea see the more competitive domestic issues as a priority and that that is why their loss in the final is not a huge blow.

  2. “My argument is that Chelsea see the more competitive domestic issues as a priority and that that is why their loss in the final is not a huge blow.”

    Well, if this is true this is an incredibly stupid argument coming from Chelsea and it shows a great lack of respect from Chelsea with their very own supporters/fans, because Chelsea will have a VERY HARD TIME qualifying for cwc ever again. I will even dare to say that it will take several decades for Chelsea to dispute that tournment ever again. If Benitez gives more priority to FA or PL, which are tournments that Chelsea can easily join every year, I can only see a very provincial/parochial mind and a great lack of vision. And I really don’t think that the Brazilian strongest clubs are behind the best European clubs. Have you ever heard about Neymar? There is a Van Persie in every Brazilian team… that’s why European clubs go there and buy their players like maniacs. And I would not say that Spain, which has won its first World Cup in history in 2010, is greater than Brazil, because what makes a team great is their titles, just like Corinthians has won cwc 2 times already (like Barcelona), but Chelsea has never won. Chelsea is only richer than Corinthians, and not even that much. Corinthians is the 25th richest club in the world (has an annual revenue of 231 million dollars) according to Forbes and Deloitte, what is above Newcastle, West Ham and tied with Aston Villa. Celtic is not even on that list. And just out of curiosity: do you think that England’s national team is stronger than Brazil as well? Concerning Germany, try to see how many times Brazil and Germany have played and how many times the “rich” Germans have won, you will be puzzled. You remind me of that provincial people who say that “Euro” is harder to win than the “World Cup”, yet they ignore that Euro 2004 final was: Greece vs Portugal, national teams that hardly survive WC group stages. And I say this as a Portuguese citizen myself.


    • I’m not saying that it doesn’t show a lack of respect. Chelsea are a team that just sacked a manager that won the FA Cup and Champions League after a few weeks simply because of a lull in form. Clearly they don’t show respect. I’m a fan of one of their rival teams, I’m not trying to support them.
      I’m not denying that Chelsea are unlikely to qualify for the CWC for a long time again, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily prestigious. My argument is that there are more teams of a high level in both the Premiership and the rest of Europe than in the CWC and you’d have to know very little about football to deny that. Because of that, it means that Chelsea’s concentration has to be on these competitions closer to home.
      I must ask, why do you keep referring back to national teams? I mentioned them briefly but only because you brought them up! But to answer your question, no I don’t think England are a better national team than Brazil. I would place Brazil in fourth or fifth behind Spain, Germany, Argentina and then possibly Italy.
      A quick thought on Neymar too – I appreciate that he has skills and I have watched some extremely good goals of his on YouTube. However, in my opinion the Brazilian league (which I will admit I do not have huge amounts of knowledge about, but my article wasn’t supposed to be about their league) is largely focussed on attacking flowing play? So I would like to see Neymar play against defenders from leagues such as Italy or even England before claiming he is the best in the world. Besides, I see him as not a classic striker such as Van Persie or even Torres. I’d place him in the category of a more modern forward who is able to move to the wings and play anywhere where the ball is. For that, he definitely is not the world’s best. That is clearly Lionel Messi without a shadow of a doubt.
      Now, your point about money. Football shouldn’t be about money. And even if it was, you say Corinthians are tied with Aston Villa? Well done Corinthians. You equal the team that currently sits 14th in the Premiership. I really don’t get what your point was there.
      Oh and no, I don’t think the Euros are a harder competition than the World Cup.

  3. “Does the fact that most people support the same team and that this team wins the majority of the time not seem like a rather boring issue in Brazilian football? ”

    Oh, I have forgotten to answer this jewel. Are you really talking about Brazil here? Corinthians doesn’t even have the largest share of fans. That one would be Flamengo. The Brazilian legaue is very different from the European ones, where you have only 2 or 3 teams with real chances of winning, what is a very boring thing. In Brazil you have basically a different team winning every year. You don’t really know much about Brazilian football, do you?

    See with your own eyes and compare it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Brazilian_football_champions (a different club wins it every year, 8 different clubs have won the national league in the last 10 years)
    (Only Chelsea and Man. U have won the PA in the last 10 years)
    (Only Valencia, Real Madri and Barcelona have La Liga in the last 10 years)

    • Sorry, I didn’t notice this other comment. I’ll accept that I’m wrong on that one (even if your ‘facts’ are rather twisted…), I was just replying to the other guy’s comment. I’m not trying to claim to be a Brazilian football expert, I’m just saying that I think that the standard of football in the Brazilian league is on average lower than in the Premiership, Serie A, Bundesliga or the Liga BBVA. And this is supported by most of the largest scouting groups in the world. For example, the football games Football Manager and FIFA (yes, I am referencing games but it’s undeniable that they have huge levels of knowledge) have two of the largest scouting networks in the world, with Football Manager boasting by far the largest. On both these games, if you refer to the overall rating of Corinthians compared to Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan etc, you’ll see it is a considerable amount lower. The stats about Brazilian league winners weren’t important to my original article, only the ability of the Corinthians as a team in comparison to Chelsea’s European rivals.

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