Manchester City is gearing up for its debut in the 2023 Club World Cup, set to take place in Saudi Arabia from December 12th to 22nd. As the European champions, the Citizens will commence their campaign in the semi-finals, awaiting the winner between Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds and Mexico's Club Leon.
Despite being the standout and favored contender, given its considerable potential and technical prowess on the field under the guidance of their experienced coach, Pep Guardiola, there looms a curse over the English club.
Manchester City's participation in the tournament marks a historic first, having never taken part in any previous editions, especially after clinching their inaugural Champions League title.
Before City, three other English clubs had previously entered the Club World Cup: Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool.
Liverpool was the inaugural English club to partake in the Club World Cup during its second edition, following their Champions League victory in the 2004-2005 season. The Reds advanced to the semi-finals, securing a 3-0 victory against CONCACAF champion Saprissa. However, in the final, they faced Brazilian Libertadores champion Sao Paulo and suffered a significant defeat (0-1), failing to secure the title in their maiden appearance.
Liverpool had to wait 14 years before clinching their first Club World Cup title, defeating Monterrey of Mexico in the semi-final and overcoming Flamengo of Brazil in the final.
Following their Champions League triumph in 2012, Chelsea earned qualification for the Club World Cup but were plagued by the Liverpool jinx. Despite advancing to the semi-finals with a win over Monterrey, they experienced a fate similar to Liverpool, facing a Brazilian team (Corinthians) and succumbing to defeat.
Chelsea had to bide their time for nine years before making a return to the championship and clinching victory. This time, they overcame Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals before triumphing over Palmeiras of Brazil in the final.
The lone survivor
Manchester United stands as the sole survivor among the trio, securing the tournament title in their debut appearance at the 2008 Club World Cup. As the European champions, they triumphed emphatically in the semi-finals against Gamba Osaka (5-3) and then faced the Ecuadorian Copa Libertadores champion, Liga do Quito, securing a 1-0 victory to claim the championship.
Guardiola and his team aim to emulate United's success, aspiring to secure the title in their first participation while hoping to avoid any complexities. The lingering question is whether City will follow in United's footsteps or succumb to the purported English curse.