Santiago Solari impressed by 'remarkable' Al Ain as he celebrates Real Madrid's Fifa Club World Cup win
The Argentine thrilled to win first trophy as manager of the Spanish club, but he is already anticipating pressure to bring more silverware to the Bernabeu
Santiago Solari paid tribute to "remarkable" Al Ain as he reflected on winning his first trophy as Real Madrid manager.
His side proved too strong for the Arabian Gulf League champions in Saturday's Fifa Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi as they prevailed 4-1, with Luka Modric, Marcos Llorente, Sergio Ramos and an own goal from Yahia Nader sealing a record fourth success in the competition.
But the Argentine said he was full of admiration for the tournament's host representative, who had got past Team Wellington, Esperance de Tunis and River Plate to reach the final.
“They were the only team that hadn’t won a continental title and to win three games and reach the final was a remarkable achievement for them,” he said.
“I was quite surprised they defeated River Plate and that was a massive result for any team. Their efforts in the tournament was magnificent and they deserved to be in the final.”
The Club World Cup title was Real's third in a row, having won it 12 months earlier in Abu Dhabi against Gremio, and then in 2016 in Japan against Kashima Antlers.
This mirrors their hat-trick of Uefa Champions League crowns and Solari believes their achievements will stand out in the world of football in the years ahead.
“To be able to win three Champions League and three Club World Cup titles three year in-a-row is something very difficult to achieve for any team," he said. "And Real have done it, which is a remarkable achievement.
"It’s history that will be very hard to match by any teams.”
The trophy is Solari's first since taking over as manager in October after Julen Lopetegui was fired and he was proud to have his first silverware with the club.
“Now I have this title as a coach and its really wonderful tournament,” he said. “It’s now more beautiful than before and I leave this competition with a lot of happiness and satisfaction.
“I want to give full credit to my players for achieving this great feat. They played good football in both games they played and are the real heroes of this achievement for the club.”
It has been a mixed season so far for Real, with the club fourth in the La Liga table, eight points behind Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand.
Solari acknowledged there would always be expectation on Real, who will continue their bid for a fourth Champions League title in a row in February when they face Ajax in the last-16 stages.
Summing up the pressure put on the players, he added: "We don’t have to forget of the titles the club has won in the past but you can’t rest on these laurels as a player or manager,” he added.
“At the moment I’m very satisfied but there will be a time when the team doesn’t do well the cycle of criticism will start again.”
Updated: December 23, 2018 12:57 AM