Abu Dhabi: Don’t write us off, was the message from Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos after securing their third straight Fifa Club World Cup title with a 4-1 win over Al Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
They may be fourth in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona, but Ramos said this victory would spark them back into life back home, where they have suffered their worst start to a season in 17 years, scoring least number of goals for this stage of a season in 25 years.
“Real Madrid can never be ruled out,” he said after claiming his 20th title with the club. “This season we will continue to fight for our goals.
“We’re still in every competition and we’re doing well. We’ve got a title and that should not be forgotten.”
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois agreed: “We played well in both of these Club World Cup games and I hope this will set us up well to perform in the Copa del Rey, La Liga and the Champions League.
“I don’t think we’re playing poorly, we’ve kept a lot of clean sheets, hopefully we can continue working well, picking up wins and making up ground.”
Goals from Luka Modric, Marcos Llorente, Sergio Ramos and Vinicius Junior were only disturbed by a Tsukasa Shiotani effort in the final, which came after a 3-1 semi-final win over Kashima Antlers. The victory sees them overtake Barcelona for the record of most Club World Cup wins with four.
Llorente said his first-ever goal for Real and his subsequent Man of the Match award were proof that in football a club’s form, and even the fledgling careers of their players, can be changed in a moment.
“In football, and in life, things change in the blink of an eye,” he said. “That is why you have to work hard, never give up and take your chances when they come up. It’s a nice way to end the year and start the next one in the best possible way. We have to go from game to game in La Liga, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey. We’re alive in all three competitions.”
Modric, who also got on the scoresheet, said it was a brilliant way to end a great year for him personally, where he not only reached the final of the World Cup with Croatia but also won the Ballon d’Or.
“It’s an important title, this will give us confidence for moving forward. We wanted to end 2018 in the best possible way and we did it.
“It’s an unforgettable year for me, it’s been perfect. We won the Champions League, with Croatia I had a great World Cup and now I’ve won another title with Real Madrid. This year is a dream, I couldn’t ask for more.”