Abu Dhabi: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos wants to give something back to his fans in the region at this week’s Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi as he bids for his 20th title with Los Blancos.
The Spaniards play Kashima Antlers in the semis at Zayed Sports City from 8.30pm on Wednesday for the chance to meet either Al Ain or River Plate in Saturday’s final (at the same time and venue).
This would be their third straight Club World Cup title, seeing them pull ahead of rivals Barcelona for the record of most wins with four.
For Ramos personally however, it would mark his 20th title with the club since joining from Sevilla in 2005. Four Champions League titles, four La Ligas and three Club World Cups, are just some of his honours.
“Personal objectives are secondary,” he told RealMadrid.com. “The team’s goals come first: winning the Club World Cup and hopefully taking the trophy back home with us.
“On a personal level, if I can play well, that’ll be a bonus and hopefully it’ll benefit the team.”
Arab fans are unlikely to have much love for Ramos after he dislocated Mohammad Salah’s shoulder during a tackle in last season’s Uefa Champions League final against Liverpool, virtually ruling the Egyptian striker out of this summer’s World Cup although he did amble back into the team to play a bit part.
Despite this, Ramos said he was glad to be back in the region and ready to repay Madristas in the Middle East.
“I’m very happy to return to Abu Dhabi, it’s a good sign. It means that the season has gone well,” he said.
“Winning the Champions League means you have the opportunity to play in the Club World Cup again and we’ve got the same objective, to take the cup home. We have the first match on Wednesday and we’d like to give something back to the people who always welcome us here and show us a lot of support.”
Real coach Santiago Solari said: “To be in the Club World Cup again is fantastic and we hope to retain the title this year, which these great players already won last year.
“It’s always important to go in to this tournament off the back of a win,” he said in reference to Saturday’s 1-0 league win at home to Rayo Vallecano.
“The Club World Cup has already begun, we have been following it on television and now we’re happy to have arrived and turn our focus to Wednesday’s game.”
Welsh winger Gareth Bale, said: “I want to thank the fans for supporting us wherever we go and we’ll work hard to be crowned champions. Every time we play a competition we want to win it, so we want to win this trophy again.”
Spanish defender Dani Carvajal, added: “Experience is fundamental in this type of championship and we’ve good experience in this competition. Hopefully we can win the title again.
“It’ll not be easy, first you have to play the semi to get to the final. For us it is an extra motivation that all the teams want to beat us. It demands the maximum of you and it’s very nice.
“To serve as an example for many academy players, wearing the badge all over the world, trying to win the Club World Cup again and winning the respect of everyone is something fantastic that we want to achieve again.”