Real Madrid book return trip to UAE for Fifa Club World Cup after Champions League success
Zinedine Zidane's side to defend the trophy they won at Zayed Sports City in December against Gremio after defeating Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday night
Organisers have welcomed Real Madrid's return to the UAE this December after the Spanish giants booked their spot at the Fifa Club World Cup by retaining the Uefa Champions League on Saturday.
The European champions, winners of last year's inter-continental event, defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev to win the tournament for a third successive year.
The victory confirmed Madrid’s place at the Club World Cup, which takes place in the Emirates for the second consecutive year and a fourth time overall. The tournament runs from December 12-22, with matches played at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi and the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain.
Madrid lifted the title last December, defeating Brazil’s Gremio 1-0 in the final at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game.
In winning, Zinedine Zidane's side became the first team to successfully defend the Club World Cup, while they also moved alongside Spanish rivals Barcelona in most tournament triumphs, with three. Madrid, Champions League winners in four of the past five years, have won the Club World Cup in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
"The European entrant is always a huge draw for the Fifa Club World Cup and football clubs don’t come any bigger than Real Madrid,” said Aref Al Awani, tournament director of the Local Organising Committee. “Europe has a long and successful history in this tournament, providing 10 of the 14 winners to date.
"We saw the level of support Real Madrid attracted last year – the club has a huge fan base in the UAE and the wider region, so we can expect strong support for Los Blancos again in December."
Madrid are the fourth side to book their place at this year’s event, joining in the UAE Mexico’s Guadalajara, New Zealand’s Team Wellington and host representatives Al Ain.
The remaining three entrants – the winner of South America's Libertadores Cup, the Asian Champions League and the African Champions League – will not be decided until November.
"The unique appeal of this tournament enables fans to get up close to their heroes and experience their favourite team in a world-class live match experience, perhaps for the first and only time - that is the beauty of the Fifa Club World Cup," Al Awani said.
"Congratulations to Real Madrid on their third Uefa Champions League in a row and we look forward to welcoming the team, manager, club officials and fans back to Abu Dhabi in December.”
Updated: May 27, 2018 04:42 PM