Dante: 'I never scored with my right'

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FC Bayern have won the Club World Cup (formerly Intercontinental Cup) three times: in 1976, 2001 and 2013. Now, Hansi Flick's team have the next opportunity to be crowned the best club team in the world at the FIFA Club World Cup. Ahead of this Thursday's final against Mexican outfit Tigres UANL, Jupp Kapellmann, Sammy Kuffour and Dante reminisce and recount how they made history in their previous triumphs. Illustration: Eric Chow

Part II: Dante, 2013

“The Club World Cup in Morocco in December 2013 was one of the biggest highlights of my whole career. This title is enormously important for us South Americans because the final normally sees the best team from Brazil or Argentina play against the best team from Europe. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case in 2013 because Atletico Mineiro, even with Ronaldinho, lost the semi-final to Raja Casablanca. That was a shame, but people at home still went mad after our 2-0 win. It was a special title for me. I’d dreamed of one day competing for that cup, and then I even scored to make it 1-0. It was super!

A week-long party

Dante put Bayern ahead in the Club World Cup final, with the centre-back unmarked six yards out at a corner.

I’ll never forget it. Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner, Jerome Boateng flicked it on with his head and I put it away with my right foot. With my right! I don’t think I ever scored with my right. I certainly can’t remember one. Then all the feelings exploded out of me. I really wanted that title. I was on the bench for the semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande, but I knew if I focussed, Pep Guardiola would let me play in the final. When he said my name in the line-up, I was immediately itching to run out onto the pitch. It was a shame we couldn’t celebrate with our fans in Munich straight after the final whistle because we went straight into the winter break from Morocco. The day after the final I flew to Brazil – and what a welcome. Everyone had seen the game, the front pages of the papers were full of it. I partied for a whole week. We had a lot of barbecues, everyone was wearing Dante kits. I had to constantly retell the story, everyone had so many questions. Like I said, this title is special for us in Brazil. I really enjoyed the time after the final.

Shaking hands with the king

Dante couldn’t hold back his joy after his goal against Raja Casablanca.

Those four or five days before in Morocco were just extraordinary. Of course, you’re really excited – you want that title. For example, we drove three hours on the bus from Agadir, where we had our semi-final, to the final in Marrakesh. That trip meant we saw more of the country and the people than we would on a Champions League trip, for example. I still remember people being especially excited by Franck Ribery. He was an idol in Morocco because we’d had a great year with Bayern and he’d been named Europe’s Player of the Year. At the final, king Mohammed VI was in the stands, and after the final whistle he was suddenly with us on the pitch for the presentation ceremony. As captain, Philipp Lahm had to introduce each of us to him. I still have the photo of me and the king. It isn’t every day you shake the hand of a king.

Fingers crossed for 2021 Champions League

The 2013 FIFA Club World Cup win meant Bayern had won five major honours in a year.

I’m sure Bayern will also win the Club World Cup in 2021. Very thing these players do is of enormous class – it has been for many, many months. In my eyes, Bayern are the best team in the world. When you’re a Bayern player, it’s in your blood to want to be a champion. It doesn’t matter who it’s against, when or where – you always want to win. I don’t see any other team in the world with the same potential. That’s why Bayern are again favourites for the Champions League. It isn’t easy to repeat the sort of success Bayern have had in recent months, but these players know what they have to do. I think they have the best chance to defend their Champions League title. I’ll be crossing my fingers and really hope I can come back to visit Munich again soon. My time at Bayern and those great fans will forever be in my heart.”

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