| Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid shares a joke with captain Fernando Hierro following their arrival in Tokyo Friday. The European champions will play South American champions Olimpia of Paraguay for the World Club Cup on Tuesday. (AFP)
Tokyo: European champions Real Madrid have warned their South American counterparts Olimpia that they will be looking to settle a score when the two sides meet in the World Club Cup on Tuesday.
The Spanish giants, who arrived in Japan on Friday with a number of key players still carrying knocks or trying to shake off a flu bug, lost 2-1 to Boca Juniors of Argentina two years ago, a result that still rankles, according to Real manager Vicente Del Bosque.
“The defeat against Boca left a bad taste and one of our targets this season was to make up for what happened here two years ago,” said Del Bosque.
“There is a lot of pride at stake for this club, so we want to play decent football, not just come away with the right result.”
Former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, who joined Real for a world record fee of $64.4 million last year, said a victory against the Paraguayans in Yokohama would give the Madrid club a much-needed confidence boost after a poor run of results.
“This is a chance for Real to put things right. We have had a bad run recently and the club lost this fixture last time, so in that respect this is a very big game for us,” said the French playmaker. Del Bosque played down concerns over the fitness of Brazil striker Ronaldo, who missed last Saturday’s goalless draw with Barcelona and the 1-0 Champions League defeat at AC Milan with a bout of influenza.
“Ronaldo, (Fernando) Hierro, (Claude) Makelele, Raul Bravo and Guti will all be involved in our training sessions over the next four days,” said Del Bosque.
“Hopefully it will prove a useful exercise as we try to get them all back to fitness again.”
Ronaldo memorably scored both goals to give Brazil a 2-0 victory over Germany in the World Cup final in his last appearance at International Stadium.
But Real captain Hierro, who played against Boca Juniors two years ago and in 1998, when the Spaniards beat Brazil’s Vasco da Gama 2-1 to win their second World Club Cup title, said they would not be taking Olimpia lightly.
“Nobody is under-estimating Olimpia. They have made it to the Intercontinental Cup, so obviously they are a dangerous team, who deserve respect,” said Hierro, who has recovered from a recent ankle strain.
“This is not a home-and-away format. We have to be ready to play flat out for 90 minutes because we really want to take this title back to Spain.”
Olimpia were beaten 3-0 by AC Milan in their only appearance in the World Club Cup in 1990.