Real Madrid set a year-best in club history after taking the Club World Cup with a narrow victory over Gremio 1-0 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday to retain the Club World Cup.
The Club World Cup is the fifth trophy Zinedine Zidane’s men have lifted in 2017, a number that the club have never previously managed.
A third Club World Cup in four years brings Madrid level with rivals Barcelona as the most successful side in the competition’s history and adds to the La Liga, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup titles already won by Zinedine Zidane’s men this year.
Madrid also became the first team in Club World Cup history to retain the title, and tie Barcelona for most overall victories in the competition with three.
Gareth Bale was left on the bench despite scoring with his first touch as a substitute against Al Jazira on Wednesday to book Madrid’s place in the final, as Zinedine Zidane kept faith with the same side that started Real’s Champions League final triumph over Juventus back in June.
Gremio booked their ricket to Abu Dhabi by winning the Copa Libertadores for the third time last month and Madrid knew they weren’t in for a comfortable evening just two minutes in when Gremio captain Pedro Geromel raked his studs down the back of Ronaldo’s calf without any punishment from Mexican referee Cesar Ramos.
Madrid dominated possession but, unlike in their profligate semi-final performance, found clear-cut chances hard to come by against the well-organised Gremio defence.
Luka Modric came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box that flew inches wide of the far post.