Photo used: [Dec. 12, 2017 – Source: Francois Nel/Getty Images Europe]
Real Madrid are set to face 2017 Brazilian Copa Libertadores winners, Gremio, in today’s Club World Cup Final at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
If Los Blancos come out of today’s game with a win, they will not only draw level with Barcelona as the most abundant winners of the cup, but they can also be the first team to win the Cup in consecutive years, having won last year’s opponents; Japan’s Kashima Antlers.
A bit of background…
The competition started in the year 2000 and was named the ‘Fifa Club World Championship’. However, it was not held between the years 2001-2004. The competition resumed in 2005 and has been held every year since.
The first winners of the competition were Brazilian Multi-Sports Club, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista back in 2000. The competition itself is perceived very differently all over the world, with it being regarded as quite a renowned club level trophy over in South America but does seem to lack some interest over here in Europe.
As for the teams taking part this year, European Champions, Real Madrid and Copa Libertadores Champions, Gremio. Here is a bit of a background about the two.
Real Madrid are looking to claim their third Fifa Club World Cup title today and are strong favourites to do so. The Whites’ late victory over UAE team, Al Jazira saw them gain a spot in the final after Gareth Bale’s remarkable return back from injury, with him scoring seconds after he replaced Karim Benzema. It’s fair to say, during La Liga this season, Real haven’t been at their best. If they see themselves in the same position in the final, Gremio could take advantage. However if Los Blancos can provide a performance that got them their 5-0 win over Sevilla, they could have the upper hand and become the first team to win the competition in consecutive years.
You may know Gremio as the club who gave us the gift of Ronaldinho, but one thing they should be known for is their club culture and their rich history. Gremio booked their place in the final after their 1-0 win against Mexico’s Pachuca. The scrappy semi-final saw 35 fouls and a goal by Winger, Everton Soares, five minutes into extra time. A crucial goal which now sees them to face club giants, Real Madrid. Gremio are missing key player, 21 year-old Midfielder Arthur, due to injury. But this is not to say that the Copa Libertadores Champions do not have a chance, they do have the players to take advantage should Los Blancos fall flat.
Both teams are set to provide us football fans with a rip-roaring final today at 5pm GMT.