Chance for year's fifth
Abu Dhabi: Real Madrid can cap their most successful year ever with victory in the Club World Cup final against Brazilian side Gremio on Saturday, which would see them become the first team to successfully defend the trophy and end 2017 with five titles.
No South American side has managed to beat their European counterparts in the Club World Cup since Gremio’s compatriots Corinthians stunned Chelsea with victory in 2012. Real only narrowly avoided a catastrophic defeat to Abu Dhabi side Al Jazira in the semi-final.
They are sure to face an even sterner test from Gremio. Gremio’s coach Renato Portaluppi won the Intercontinental Cup with the club as a player and courted controversy by proclaiming he was a better player than Ronaldo.The Portuguese, became the top scorer in the history of Club World Cup by netting for the sixth time in three separate tournament appearances.
The previous record of five was jointly held by Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Cesar Delgado. Real were given an almighty scare in last year’s final, falling behind Japanese side Kashima Antlers before eventually winning 4-2 in extra time with the help of a Ronaldo hat-trick.