Fifa Club World Cup 2017 labelled a 'resounding success' by organisers
The third staging of the competition was highlighted by a record crowd for a club match in the UAE witnessing Real Madrid lifting the trophy.
The Fifa Club World Cup 2017, which drew to a close on Saturday night has been labelled a success by tournament officials.
Real Madrid prevailed in the final at Zayed Sports City with a 1-0 triumph over Gremio in front of a crowd of more than 41,000, a record for a club football match being played in the UAE.
Madrid become the first side to ever successfully defend the Club World Cup, having won the 2016 competition in Japan, and now also share the most number of trophy wins in the competition's history with Barcelona on three.
It was the third time, and first since 2010, that the UAE had hosted the event and Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Romaithi, the chairman of the Higher Organising Committee, said he was delighted with not only the success of the tournament, but the way in which it had showcased the country to the the world.
“The Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017 has been a resounding success and we could not be happier with how the tournament has panned out,” he said in a statement.
“We have seen a record attendance at tonight’s final, with millions of other fans tuning in around the world to watch their sporting heroes compete in the pinnacle of club football.
"We are already seeing the short-term benefits of hosting the competition through increased tourism, but we must work hard over the coming years to make sure that hosting internationally recognised sports events like the Fifa Club World Cup have a lasting legacy and aid the development of the UAE’s sports infrastructure."
Al Jazira, the home representative in the tournament, finished fourth in the competition, but came close to causing one of the event's biggest ever shocks as they led against Real Madrid, and had a goal, which would have put them 2-0 ahead, was disallowed after the use of the Video assistant referee (VAR) technology. They would go on to lose the semi-final 2-1.
They lost 4-1 to Pachuca in the third place play-off on Saturday before the final, but Henk ten Cate, the Jazira manager, said: "I am so proud of how far we've come in this tournament and I am so proud of my players. We are looking forward to having a few days of rest."
The UAE will also host the 2018 Fifa Club World Cup, which will take place in December 2018.
Whether Real Madrid will be back to try and go for a hat-trick of titles in 12 months will depend on whether they can successfully defend the Uefa Champions League.
Their next challenge in that competition is a last 16 showdown with Paris Saint-Germain in February.
Updated: December 17, 2017 01:41 PM