Real Madrid Win 2018 FIFA Club World Cup with 4-1 Victory over Al Ain

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2018

Real Madrid's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FIFA Club World Cup final football match Spain's Real Madrid vs Abu Dhabi's Al Ain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 22, 2018. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Real Madrid won their third straight FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday, with the UEFA Champions League holders defeating Al Ain 4-1 in the United Arab Emirates.  

Efforts from Luka Modric, Marcos Llorente, Sergio Ramos and a Yahia Nader own goal gave the Spanish giants a comfortable win and manager Santiago Solari his first trophy for the club.

Tsukasa Shiotani claimed a consolation goal in the closing stages.


Llorente Deserves to Keep His Place in Solari's Madrid

Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

The season has been a nightmare for Real, with the summer departure of Cristiano Ronaldo seemingly key in the club's disappointing fourth-place standing in La Liga.

While Los Blancos often use the transfer market to solve their issues, problems in midfield appear to have been solved by a previously unheralded youngster.

After another good display for the reigning European champions by Marcos Llorente has seen the 23-year-old add a different dimension to the centre of midfield.

In addition to his defensive work, the Madrid-born talent doubled his side's lead against the Abu Dhabi outfit in the second half with a wonderful half-volley.

TV presenter Phil Kitromilides hailed the burgeoning midfielder:

Phil Kitromilides @PhilKitro

Marcos Llorente's first ever Real Madrid goal. What a strike. What a player.

Real were always expected to be comfortable winners against weaker opponents, but Llorente has quickly proved he could be a wildcard for Solari this season in what will likely be a pleasant surprise to supporters.

The player's strike was his opening effort for the club and continued his rise to prominence. Llorente only featured once under previous manager Julen Lopetegui, but he has quickly earned the trust of Solari.

Modric is still the key man in Real's midfield, but Llorente could be the man to give the team the additional fortitude they have desperately needed.


What's Next

Real are back in domestic action in 2019 with an evening trip to Villarreal in La Liga on January 3.


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