Danilo dreaming of perfect Santos send-off

Santos right-back Danilo plans to give the South American champions the perfect parting gift by helping them win the Club World Cup by beating Barcelona in Sunday's final.

The Porto-bound Danilo curled in a superb free-kick in the 3-1 semi-final win over Japan's Kashiwa Reysol as Brazil hot-shots Neymar, Elano and Paulo Henrique Ganso looked on.

"It was the first free-kick I've scored for Santos," the precocious 20-year-old said of his goal, bent brilliantly around the Reysol wall.

"Even though we've got Elano, Ganso and Neymar, who all strike the ball very well, I thought it was worth a try since I've been scoring quite a few in training."

European kings Barca kept up their end of the bargain by thrashing Asian champions Al Sadd 4-0 in Yokohama on Thursday but lost Spain striker David Villa to a broken leg.

The Spanish champions were visibly upset at hearing of Villa's injury but all eyes will be on Argentine wizard Lionel Messi and Neymar, the 19-year-old pretender to his throne.

Danilo feels the omens are good for Santos, who won their third Libertadores Cup in June, almost 50 years after Pele led them to back-to-back titles in 1962 and 1963.

"It's incredible," he told FIFA.com. "It feels as if it was destined that my final game at Santos would be a World Cup final against Barcelona."

Santos looked sharper in their semi-final than a travel-weary Barca did in theirs against an Al Sadd side who did little to silence critics of the tournament.

Barcelona, who flew to Japan immediately after a 3-1 Clasico win at fierce rivals Real Madrid at the weekend, are likely to be firing on Sunday, even without Villa.

"Given how much talent they have, we'll have to be a bit more cautious." admitted Danilo. "I'm certain if we have a good day we're in with a good chance of winning."


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