Cristiano Ronaldo led the way as Real Madrid beat Gremio 1-0 to successfully retain the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, securing them a fifth trophy of 2017.
Madrid often looked susceptible on the counter-attack in their 2-1 semi-final win over Al Jazira, though the same could not be said against Gremio as the European champions exerted complete control in the first half.
Plenty of chances fell Madrid’s way, though it took them until the second half to break the deadlock and there was more than a hint of fortune about it, with Ronaldo’s free-kick somehow finding its way past Marcelo Grohe and making him the first player to score in successive Club World Cup finals.
Luka Modric saw a 25-yard effort of his own tipped on to the post soon after, as Madrid’s search for a second left them frustrated.
Ultimately it did not matter, as Gremio failed to cause the LaLiga team any problems in spite of their own desperation and Zinedine Zidane’s men had little difficulty holding on to claim the Club World Cup title for a third time in four years.
Modric nearly added a legitimate second just after the hour mark, but Grohe managed to tip his effort on to the post.
Gremio’s need to throw men forward provided Madrid with several opportunities to counter during the final stages and, although they failed to add to the score, Zidane’s men comfortably held on to lift the Club World Cup, giving them the perfect boost ahead of El Clasico next Saturday.
Key Opta facts:
– Real Madrid have won five titles in the same calendar year for the first time ever (La Liga, Champions League, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup).
– Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time highest-scoring player in the Club World Cup (seven goals).
– Madrid have become the first club to be world champions in consecutive years since Sao Paulo under Tele Santana in 1992 and 1993 (Intercontinental Cup).
– Madrid have matched Barcelona (three) as the side with the most Club World Cup wins.
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