Intercontinental Cup winners were not world champions, says FIFA

Intercontinental Cup TrophyGetty Images

Winners of the legendary Intercontinental Cup tournament will no longer be considered world champions, according to a statement from FIFA. 

The annual tournament started in 1960 and brought together the winners of the Copa Libertadores in South America and the champions of the European Cup - later rebranded as the Champions League - before being supplanted by the Club World Cup in 2000. 

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But according to the world governing body, teams that lifted the old trophy do not have the right to call themselves the best on the planet. 

"FIFA has recognised and valued the initiatives of establishing world club competitions across history," the organisation said in a statement responding to a query from Brazilian daily Estadao

"That is the situation of tournaments that included European and South American clubs, such as the Copa Rio of 1951 and 1952; and the Intercontinental Cup. 

"Nevertheless, not until 2000 did FIFA first organise the Club World Cup, with representatives from all six confederations. 

"The winners of those competitions are the teams who are officially considered by FIFA as world club champions." 

The Intercontinental Cup ran for a total of 54 years in various formats and guises, and was first lifted by the famous Real Madrid team boasting the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas in 1960. 

Notable champions include Pele's Santos team, the Milan side of Arrigo Sacchi in the early 1990s and the 1970s vintage Ajax, commanded by Johan Cruyff.