Tue | Jan 16, 2018

Ronaldo goal gives Real third Club World Cup title

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the Club World Cup final against Gremio at Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, yesterday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored from a free-kick as Real Madrid claimed its third Club World Cup title after beating Brazilian team Gremio 1-0 yesterday.

The Ballon d'Or winner fired his right-footed shot between two players in Gremio's defensive wall, leaving goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe no hope of reaching the ball before it bounced inside the post in the 53rd minute.

"(Ronaldo) is always there at the key moments," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "Nobody can do what he does."

Madrid defended the title they won last season and collected a fifth trophy of 2017, along with the Champions League, Spanish league, European Super Cup, and Spanish Super Cup.

Ronaldo celebrated the goal by rushing to Madrid's dugout, where he was embraced by his teammates. The goal increased Ronaldo's record to seven goals in the competition. He also scored in Madrid's 2-1 comeback win over Al Jazira in the semi-finals.

"What am I going to say? The numbers speak for themselves. I am very happy. The team played fantastically well and it has won another title," Ronaldo said. "We played a very good game and deserved the victory."

EQUALLED RECORD

Madrid equalled Barcelona's record of three titles for the short knockout tournament between the champions of FIFA's six continental confederations and the host nation's league winner.

European clubs have won 10 of the last 11 Club World Cups, with only Brazil's Corinthians interrupting that streak in 2012 when they defeated Chelsea.

Zidane played the same starting 11 from last season's Champions League final in June, when Madrid crushed Juventus 4-1 - led by Ronaldo's double.

The European champions outclassed Gremio throughout the match, but the closest they got to scoring in the first half was Dani Carvajal's goal-bound volley in the 20th that was cleared by Pedro Geromel.

- AP