The Brazilian believes the Copa Libertadores champions are on the same level as their Catalan rivals going into what he feels will be the 'game of the century'Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro insists that there is nothing to choose between Barcelona and his side ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Club World Cup final showdown.
Barca, who clinched their place in the decider with a 4-0 win over Al Sadd on Thursday, are the reigning Spanish and European champions and considered clear favourites to win the tournament.
However, after watching his side record a 3-1 semi-final win over Kashiwa Reysol, Ribeiro believes that the Brazilians are a match for the Catalans.
"In a match like this, there is no favorite, because football is full of surprises,” he told Lancenet.
“The favorite usually falls on his face [so] I wish that Barcelona was the favorite. But neither Santos nor Barcelona can be considered favourites. But it will be the game of the century.”
Ribeiro also joked that Barca’s scouts were blown away by reported transfer target Neymar’s performance against Kashiwa.
"I said nothing, but I saw that their eyes were watery,” he said. “I got a call from a radio station in Madrid, Spain saying that they had all watched the game and were delighted with the goals of Neymar and Borges.
“[So] I think Santos will have a chance of winning against Barcelona.”
Santos are the reigning Copa Libertadores champions but they only finished tenth in this year’s Brazilian championship.
Starting last month and continuing every Friday through to January, Goal.com will publish extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. Ahead of Sunday's Club World Club final with Santos, tune in on Friday for an exciting extract on how Lionel Messi helped the Catalans claim this trophy for the very first time in their history in 2009. Don't miss it!