Real Madrid became the first team to retain the FIFA Club World Cup after beating Gremio of Brazil 1-0 in a match played in the United Arab Emirates.
Eight minutes into the second half Cristiano Ronaldo drew a foul just outside of the Gremio penalty box after a rash challenge by Gremio’s Jailson.
Ronaldo then drove the ball through a porous Gremio wall and past goalkeeper Marcelo.
It was Ronaldo’s 7th goal at the Club World Cup and the second straight year that the Portuguese superstar has scored the winning goal in the Club World Cup Final.
A year ago Ronaldo scored a hat-trick when Real Madrid beat Japan’s Kashima Antlers after 4-2 extra time.
This was also Real Madrid’s third Club World Cup win in the last four years.
Real could have put the game beyond Gremio but a Ronaldo goal was chalked off after Benzema was adjudged to be offside and Modric then hit the post.
The team from Brazil included twelve players with European experience in its squad although emerging midfield star Arthur missed the tournament on account of injury.
Real Madrid peppered Gremio with 20 attempts on goal while the Brazilians could only manage one attempt and it missed the target.
Ronaldo’s goal was the 24th scored by Real Madrid at the Club World Cup and that sets a new record.
European teams have won their last 10 games at the Club World Cup and have maintained clean sheets in eight of these games.
Chelsea’ 1-0 loss to Corinthians in 2012 is the only loss suffered by a European team in the last 22 games at the Club World Cup. Europe’s overall record at the tournament in 25 wins, 3 draws and just 4 losses.
Real Madrid’s win is the sixth time that a team from Spain has won the Club World Cup – Brazil is next with 4.
Real Madrid will now turn its attention to Barcelona. Real Madrid trail Barcelona by eight points in La Liga and the two teams will face each other next Saturday at the Bernabeu in Madrid.
The gap could be 11 points by Sunday evening as Barcelona plays Deportivo La Coruna just as Real Madrid arrives back from its Middle East sojourn.