Zinedine Zidane urges Real Madrid to deliver 'maximum dream' by winning Fifa Club World Cup
Victory at Zayed Sports City on Saturday will give the Spanish side their fifth trophy of the year as captain Sergio Ramos vows not to look beyond their Brazilian opponents.
Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid will give their “maximum” in their bid to make history in Saturday’s Fifa Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi.
The defending champions take on Brazil’s Gremio in the showpiece at Zayed Sports City seeking to become the first team to lift the trophy in successive years.
However, Madrid's current crop can write their name into the club’s history books with a win, since it would be the fifth title won by the team this year.
In 2017, Madrid have captured also the Primera Liga, the Uefa Champions League, the Spanish Super Cup and the Uefa Super Cup.
“There’s a motivation, the dream to achieve another title - we are here for that,” Zidane said on Friday. “We have been here in this country for a week and have been preparing for this final. Now we are playing it, it’s a maximum dream for us to go back with a trophy.
“We are here because we won the Champions League. This is the most beautiful thing in football: that we’re here to defend our title. We deserve to be.”
Zidane acknowledges that Gremio represent formidable opponents. The Porto Alegre side were the last side to book their place in the Club World Cup having late last month sealed a first Copa Libertadores crown in 22 years.
Gremio defeated Mexico’s Pachuca in Tuesday’s semi-final to secure the meeting with Madrid, while Zidane’s men struggled the following day to overcome UAE champions Al Jazira. They required an 81-minute goal from substitute Gareth Bale to seal the victory.
Now in the final, Madrid are looking to join chief rivals Barcelona as the only three-time winners of the Club World Cup in its current format.
“Of course, Madrid’s history is important, but the good thing that we have is that all of us, all the people who work for this team, we all know the most important thing is what comes next,” Zidane said. “We always want to make history for this club.
“So we’re going to show respect for [Gremio]. We’re going to try and win the trophy. We have that hunger every day, not only myself as a manager, but the players, who are the most important people at this club.”
Captain Sergio Ramos, who declared he is fit to return to the starting line-up having miss Jazira through injury, added: “Yes, it will be a magnificent year, unforgettable for our fans, for us, for Real Madrid’s history.
You cannot erase the numbers. But you cannot stay with what you’ve done in past. Of course, I hope we can enjoy as many titles in future as the ones we’ve won this year.
“It’s a new opportunity to reestablish ourselves as champions of the Club World Cup. We want to go back after one week with another title. As always in a final, we have to have full respect for our opponent, knowing Gremio will not make it easy for us. It’s going to be a very tough match, but we’re ready to fight for that title.”
Meanwhile, Gremio manager Renato Portaluppi has warned Madrid they will face a “super-motivated” opponent when the two face off in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
“In my opinion, Real are the favourites,” he said. “But Gremio haven’t come for a picnic. You can be rest assured that we’re going to sweat and we're going to give our best because what Real want to achieve, we want to achieve also.
“Real will have to confront a big adversary and we will do our best to win this title. It’s not only about the quality you have on the pitch, but also the will you have to win. Real may be favourites, but we can still win because what’s valid is the will.”
Updated: December 16, 2017 09:12 AM