Real Madrid eased to a third straight Club World Cup title as Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos scored in a 4-1 final victory over home team Al Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday become the first team to win the tournament three years in a row.
The European champions have struggled at times this season but had little trouble in brushing aside Al Ain, whose surprise run to the final included a comeback from 3-0 down against Team Wellington and a shock last-four win over River Plate.
The Spanish giants have now won a record four Club World Cup titles, pulling one clear of arch rivals Barcelona, who were in La Liga action on Saturday.
Real boss Santiago Solari, who has had to deal with rumours surrounding his future after Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Manchester United earlier this week, named a strong side including Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale.
Ballon d’Or winner Modric gave Real a 14th-minute lead, and Marcos Llorente’s fantastic volley wrapped up the win on the hour mark before Sergio Ramos’ late third and Tsukasa Shiotani’s consolation.
Yahia Nader put through his own net in injury time as Real comfortably claimed their 11th win in 13 games and a first trophy since Solari took over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui in October.
Key Opta Facts
– Madrid have won the Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015) to become the competition’s most successful team.
– Solari is the first Argentinian manager to win the Club World Cup. The previous five Argentinians to manage in a Club World Cup final lost the game, all in charge of teams from South America.
– Madrid captain Ramos is the third player to score in different Club World Cup finals, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.