Real Madrid win third straight Club World Cup title with win over Al-Ain

Updated 22 December 2018

Real Madrid win third straight Club World Cup title with win over Al-Ain

ABU DHABI: Real Madrid eased to a third straight Club World Cup title as Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos scored in a 4-1 final victory over home team Al-Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The European champions have struggled at times this season but had little trouble in brushing aside Al-Ain, whose surprise run to the final included a comeback from 3-0 down against Team Wellington and a shock last-four win over River Plate.

The Spanish giants have now won a record four Club World Cup titles, pulling one clear of arch rivals Barcelona, who were in La Liga action on Saturday.

Real boss Santiago Solari, who has had to deal with rumours surrounding his future after former Los Blancos coach Jose Mourinho's sacking by Manchester United earlier this week, named a strong side including Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale.

And he was in buoyant mood after the game.

"This title closes the season on a great note for us. To be able to win three Champions Leagues and Club World Cup is history in itself and it will be difficult to equal this.

"This tournament is very close to my heart, it is a wonderful tournament and I am leaving with a lot of happiness and satisfaction. The team is used to repeat success, I enjoy seeing how the players enjoying. The seriousness we put in this tournament and we played a great game tonight.

"We don’t have rest on our laurels. We have to realise that it’s a very difficult to play and achieve this feat," he said.

And he praised the Emirati team. "The Al-Ain performance was fantastic. They were the only team who were not continental champions, but they eliminated all champions and they faced tonight’s game and fought well. I congratulated them for their efforts."

Al-Ain coach Zoran Mamic rued the number of games his side had to play, but was pragmatic in his assessment of the game.

"Congratulations to Real Madrid. They presented good football with lots of quality. It was hard for us today, it was our fourth game in 10 days and we didn’t have enough power.

"However, we had chances, but we didn’t take them, in the end Real Madrid deserved to win. We must learn how to play at a higher level. We are proud of our achievement, we will be happy and enjoy it."

Ballon d'Or winner Modric gave Real a 14th-minute lead, and Marcos Llorente's fantastic volley wrapped up the win on the hour mark before Sergio Ramos' late third and Tsukasa Shiotani's consolation.

Yahia Nader put through his own net in injury time as Real comfortably claimed their 11th win in 13 games and a first trophy since Solari took over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui in October.

Al-Ain started brightly and came close to taking a shock lead when Sweden international striker Marcus Berg could only prod the ball into the gloves of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

But Real did not wait long to make Berg pay, as Karim Benzema teed up Modric, who took a touch before curling a fine left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Benzema went close with a blocked effort, before also firing over the bar.

A second goal always looked likely to arrive sooner rather than later, with Modric denied by an excellent save from Al-Ain 'keeper Khalid Eisa.

But the Emiratis hung in the game and could have levelled when Rayan Yaslam Mohamad Al Jaberi could only slice a shot out of play for a throw-in.

Real doubled their lead, though, as 23-year-old midfielder Llorente drilled home his first goal for the club with a wonderful volley from just outside the area.

The game was all over as a contest in the 79th minute when Ramos climbed above the Al-Ain defence to power a trademark header into the net from Modric's corner.

Japanese midfielder Shiotani glanced in a Caio free-kick to grab Al-Ain an 86th-minute consolation, but Nader deflected Junior Vinicius' effort past Eisa in the first minute of added time.


Tyson Fury’s promoter says Saudi Arabia could host ‘Battle of the Brits’ heavyweight clash against Anthony Joshua

Updated 23 min 55 sec ago

Tyson Fury’s promoter says Saudi Arabia could host ‘Battle of the Brits’ heavyweight clash against Anthony Joshua

  • Frank Warren says the fighters will go where the money is
  • Anthony Joshua's promoter says 'huge site offer in place' for fight with Fury in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: World heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua could fight in Saudi Arabia, Fury’s promoter said Sunday, after his boxer destroyed Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas.

Speculation is rife over who Fury will face next after the “Gypsy King” twice knocked down Wilder to seal an emphatic victory. Most pundits are hoping for a “Battle of the Brits” with Tyson and Joshua currently holding all four heavyweight belts between them.

Joshua fought Andy Ruiz Jr in Diriyah near Riyadh in December and his team said previously there is an offer to fight the winner of the Fury, Wilder fight in the Kingdom.

Fury was also inside a ring in Saudi Arabia in October when he took part in WWE’s Crown Jewel event in Riyadh. 

Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, refused to rule out Saudi Arabia as a venue for the “Battle of the Brits.”

“In a dreamscape it should be in London but they’re professional athletes,” Warren said. “These guys have short careers, they go where the money is.

Anthony Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in December. (AFP/File photo)

“It’s the boxers who get in the ring and they’ll make the choices.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said last month that they have a “huge site offer in place” for the fight to take place in Saudi Arabia. 

Describing it as a “big option,” Hearn said: “We have a partnership out there in Saudi Arabia.

“They put the money up for the Andy Ruiz fight. Everything they promised, they delivered.

“They want this fight bad and when they've got that kind of attitude and mentality, it's going to be difficult to beat.”

Several hurdles remain in place for Fury to face Joshua.

Wilder, who held his title for five years, has 30 days to invoke a rematch clause against Fury. 

Joshua is scheduled to fight Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London in June, but Hearn has suggested that match could be canceled to make way for a clash with Fury.

Another obstacle would be how to split the prize money. Warren suggested a 50-50 split would be generous to Joshua after the scale of Fury’s win in Las Vegas.

“In my time I’ve been involved with some big fights and some big fighters,” Warren said. “This is without doubt the best performance by a British fighter - not abroad, but ever.”

Joshua’s fight against Ruiz was the biggest boxing event held in Saudi Arabia and part of a drive to make the Kingdom a venue for the world’s biggest sporting events.

The fight took place on a rainy night at the purpose built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena.

Joshua beat Ruiz with a unanimous points decision from the judges, reclaiming his world heavyweight belts.