Sergio Ramos: Real Madrid will have 'fans behind us in the UAE' against Al Ain
Spaniard confident that the European champions will not be short of local backing, despite their opponents having home advantage for Saturday's Fifa Club World Cup final at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is confident his side will not be lacking local support when they bid for a historic Fifa Club World Cup victory against Al Ain, claiming "we always had the fans behind us in the UAE".
The Spanish La Liga side can become the most successful side in the history of the tournament if they win Saturday's final at Zayed Sports City Stadium, which would give them a record fourth title.
Standing in their way are Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain, who beat River Plate on penalties in their semi-final.
But despite the fact they are playing an UAE side in their home country, Ramos believes there will be plenty of backing for the European champions.
Referencing the cheers they received as they beat Al Jazira in the semi-finals of the tournament 12 months ago, the 32 year old said at a news conference on Friday: “We are the visitors playing against the local side in the final, but we always had the fans behind us in the UAE."
Ramos said he and his teammates had enjoyed their time in the UAE since arriving on Sunday and had experienced a lot of goodwill.
“We have always been treated well here in the UAE," he added. "The fans have always have given us special treatment for us whenever we visit and we notice that in the streets.
“I visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque the other day and was very impressed by it. The fans there told me although they supported Al Ain they didn’t want Real to lose. Somehow it means Real is also their team.
“Al Ain is the strongest team in the UAE. They have won the more league titles than any other. So we are looking forward to a good game of football.”
Real are aiming to win the competition for a third successive year, having won it in in Japan in 2016 and then last year in Abu Dhabi, beating Gremio in the final.
Real will start the game as favourites but Ramos said that he and his teammates were taking the threat of Al Ain, who have beaten Team Wellington, Esperance de Tunis and River Plate to get to the final, very seriously.
“We will show a lot of humbleness on the pitch when we play them,” he said. “What they did against River Plate is history.
“What I believe is that the games are becoming quite even as we have witnessed in the Club World Cup. In the end what makes the difference is your physique and mental preparation.
“Al Ain have some good players, particularly the Swedish guy (Marcus Berg) in the attack. They have three other foreign players but football is teamwork and we respect everyone of them on the pitch.”
Victory for them in the final will provide a personal milestone for Ramos with his 20th trophy at the club since making his debut in 2005.
“I hope I can be the player with the most titles at Real,” he added. “Of course I want to win as many titles as possible until I’m a Real player.
“This is not only for me but for the team and for the Real fans. I wish I can win this milestone 20th silverware tomorrow.”
Updated: December 21, 2018 07:52 PM