Real Madrid capped off another memorable year by claiming a third successive FIFA Club World Cup title, defeating host team Al Ain at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2018 Luka Modric opened the scoring on 14 minutes for the UEFA Champions League winners, before Marcos Llorente doubled the advantage on the hour-mark.
Skipper Sergio Ramos then made it three on 79 minutes as Los Blancos secured their fourth Club World Cup crown.
Real applied early pressure but they nearly went a goal down when Hussein Elshahat latched onto the end of Marcelo’s misplaced header and cut into the area before getting his shot off – only to be denied by a stunning block from skipper Sergio Ramos.
Just one minute later, though, the holders were in front when Karim Benzema played the ball back to Luka Modric and the Croatia star curled the ball into the bottom corner.
Moments after Real celebrated their opener, Al Ain had the ball in the back of the net but Caio’s effort was flagged for offside.
Santiago Solari’s side doubled their lead on the hour mark when the ball fell to Marcos Llorrente after a corner, and goalkeeper Khalid Eisa was powerless to stop the midfielder’s stunning strike from finding the bottom corner.
Sergio Ramos recorded Real’s third, powering a header past Eisa after a corner, before Tsukasa Shiotani headed a consolation goal for the host team after Caio’s free-kick. Yahia Nader then turned Vinicius Jr’s effort into his own net in injury-time, making it 4-1.
The result means Real add to their 2014, 2016 and 2017 Club World Cup titles, while manager Solari claimed his first trophy as Los Blancos boss.
In the battle for the third place, River Plate bounced back from their semi-final disappointment to record a 4-0 victory over Kashima Antlers. Goals from Bruno Zuculini, Santos Borre and a farewell brace from Gonzalo Martinez saw the Argentinian side take bronze in Abu Dhabi.