Ahead of Saturday night’s FIFA Club World Cup final (21:00 Abu Dhabi time) between Real Madrid and Gremio, Press Association Sport take a look at the main talking points surrounding the action at Zayed Sports City stadium.
KEEPING IT REAL
The Spaniards would become the first club to lift back-to-back Club World Cup titles if they managed to find a way past their Brazilian opponents. Cristiano Ronaldo plundered a hat-trick in their 4-2 extra-time victory over Japanese side Kashima Antlers in December last year to seal a concerted fightback and hand the club the trophy for the second time in three years.
Gremio coach Renato Gaucho will be determined to thwart Real as he looks to add to his impressive list of achievements. Gaucho became just the eighth man to win the Copa Libertadores as both player and manager when the men from Port Alegre beat Argentina’s Lanus 3-1 on aggregate in last month’s final.
Real star Gareth Bale has an enviable record in the competition having scored in each of his three appearances to date. Bale scored the decisive goal within seconds of his introduction as a second half substitute in the 2-1 semi-final victory over Al Jazira on his return from injury, and will hope to add to his strikes against Cruz Azul and San Lorenzo in 2014 if he gets a further taste of the action.
BRAZIL 1 SPAIN 1
National as well as club pride will be at stake as Real and Gremio take part in the third Brazil v Spain final with honours currently even. Internacional defeated Barcelona 1-0 in 2006 courtesy of Adriano’s late winner, but the Catalan side gained revenge five years later when Lionel Messi scored twice in a 4-0 rout of Santos.
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