It took nearly 18 years but Keane and Irwin finally recognised as champions in world competition 4 years ago

It took nearly 18 years but Keane and Irwin finally recognised as champions in world competition

What took so long?

After Manchester United's historic treble achievement back in 1999, they were champions of England, champions of Europe and had the chance to become champions of the world.

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They were invited to play in the Intercontinental Cup at the start of the following season where they defeated Brazilian side Palmeiras in the final courtesy of a Roy Keane winner...

Clip via sp1873

One of the easiest goals that Keano ever scored in his career.

At the time, The Intercontinental Cup was a competition contested between winners of the European Champions League and the South American version called the Copa Libertadores.

The final took place in Tokyo and it was one which Manchester United took very seriously by the looks of it when you see the strength of the starting eleven that they fielded that day.

Bosnich; G. Neville, Irwin, Stam, Silvestre; Keane, Butt, Beckham; Scholes; Giggs, Solskjaer.

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The tournament was scrapped in 2004 and replaced with the FIFA Club World Cup.

The new format sees teams going up against six other opponents. Winners from the Asian, African, North American, South American, Oceania and European Champions Leagues all participate in a straight knock-out tournament - along with the host nation's national champion - in order to decide who is the world champion.

However, up until today, FIFA had not officially recognised winners of the old competition as club world champions but as of 27 October that has now changed.

In a meeting this morning to discuss key organisational elements of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in 2018, the organisation decided that they would recognise "all European and South American teams that won the Intercontinental Cup – played between 1960 and 2004 – as club world champions."

So, Irishmen, Keane and Irwin, as well as greats such as Beckham, Stam and Butt can now regard themselves as world champions.

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As for Giggs and Scholes, it will mean they have received the accolade twice, doing so back in 2008 also.