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21 December 2019 08:32

“It’s the most important title Flamengo have won,” Zico says.

Zico still drives the car he was awarded as man-of-the-match when Flamengo beat Liverpool 38 years ago, but it is not the thing he most treasures from that day. Better than the 1981 Toyota Celica that took nearly a year and a half to arrive in Brazil is the memory of defeating the European champions on a global stage. "Liverpool were the best team in Europe and they continued being so," Zico says of his team's 3-0 Intercontinental Cup win over Bob Paisley's side in Tokyo. "They had high-quality players, great technical ability, but Flamengo played much better football and maybe they didn't expect we would be so strong." While the tournament now known as the Club World Cup - in which Liverpool and Flamengo will meet again in Saturday's final – has often been seen as an irritant by European clubs, it is viewed very differently in South America. "It's the most important title Flamengo have won," Zico says.

Zico: 'Liverpool underestimated Flamengo in 1981 and Europe's best team paid the ultimate price'

"It's the highest honour a club can win." So what did he think about Graeme Souness's less-than-flattering recollections of the event? The Scot said that Liverpool's players got drunk on the flight to Japan and were told by assistant manager Joe Fagan: "This game is not that important, so don't get injured."