December 18 – Real Madrid were crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions for the second year in succession at the weekend in the United Arab Emirates, beating Brazil’s Gremio 1-0 in the final.
This is Real Madrid’s third Club World Cup title in four years and the first time a club has won back-to-back titles. Inevitably the winning goal was scored by FIFA’s Best player of the year, Cristiano Ronaldo.
To reach the final Real Madrid had overcome the tournament’s surprise package, local favourites Al Jazira, with goals from Ronaldo and Gareth Bale after having gone behind. Al Jazira had reached the semi-final with wins over Auckland in the qualification round and then AFC Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan in the quarter final.
On the other side of the draw Gremio has only overcome Mexico’s Pachuca in the 95th minute with a goal by substitute Everton.
Their final appearance was to be a similarly gritty performance against a Real Madrid side that were finding form and dominated possession. Ronaldo was again became the deciding difference for the Spanish, scoring from a free kick in the 53rd minute.
Real Madrid kept up their pressure and Ronaldo looked to have scored again after volleying in a knockdown from Karim Benzema only for the Benzema to ruled offside. Ronaldo is the highest scorer in Club World Cup competitions with seven goals.
Gremio played out the match under pressure with goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe forced into fine saves to keep the score to one goal difference.
With Real Madrid taking the trophy it was left to their talisman Ronaldo to collect the Alibaba Cloud Match Award Winner.
Earlier in the day Pachuca had beat Al Jazira 4-1 for third place.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org