Real Madrid are gearing up to defend their FIFA Club World Cup title in Abu Dhabi next week, in a slightly different form from last year as the champions and despite their world class players, have been struggling to find the goal.
Even though Real Madrid are not in top form and have been struggling, they are still the favorites to be crowned champions in the competition that will take place from December 6th to the 16th.
But despite the Spanish club’s lack of form, they will certainly not be an easy opponent for the rest of the clubs participating in the competition as the Merengues have proven time and time again that they know how to rise from the ashes and end up on the winning side.
As they did by winning back-to-back Champions League titles [2015/16 and 2016/17], Real Madrid again could do what no other club has ever done and win two consecutive Club World Cups.
Real Madrid’s director Butragueño was quick to point out that winning the Club World Cup was not a done deal for the Whites and the squad would have to be ready physically as they will have a busy schedule: “If we perform as we can do, we’ll be in with a very good chance of making it through to the final. We’ve got a very busy schedule in December and we’ve got to bear that in mind. We know that there might be some surprises along the way, our game is becoming all the more competitive and the fitness side of things is very important. Each match will be tough and compared to last year’s competition in Japan, the time difference will be much less of an issue”
This year’s Club World Cup will kick off with the host team Al Jazira, who were last year’s Arabian Gulf League champions and have had their share of successful runs during their history by winning two league titles, three UAE President’s Cups, a UAE Federation Cup and a GCC Champions League. Al Jazira will face Auckland City,in Al-Ain at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, who after winning their group games at home, defeated Tahiti’s AS Tefana 2-0 at home and away in the semi-final to then win 5-0 on aggregate over Team Wellington in the final.
On December 9th Pachuca who were crowned 2016/17 CONCACAF Champions League after a 2-1 win on aggregate against Tigres in the final, will face CAF winners Wydad Athletic Club winners of the Moroccan league after 14 years without the title before going on to win the CAF Champions League.
The winner from the match between Al Jazira and Pachuca will then have to face Urawa Reds who beat Al Hilal 1-0 to claim a 2-1 aggregate win to be the 2017 AFC Champions League.
Real Madrid will kick off the competition from the semi finals and will have to play against Al Jazira, Auckland City or the Urawa Red Diamonds.
If the current Club World Cup title holders qualify to the final that will be played on December 16 at 21:00 UAE local time, they’ll play against either Mexico’s Pachuca, Wydad Casablanca or Gremio.
If the unexpected happens and Real Madrid doesn’’t qualify, Zidane’s men will play for the third place on the 16th of December at 18:00 UAE local time.
FIFA Club World Cup 2017 Schedule:
Al Jazira v Auckland City (6 December, 9pm)
Pachuca v Wydad (9 December, 5pm)
Al Jazira/Auckland City v UrawaRed Diamonds (9 December, 8:30pm)
Gremio / Pachuca v Wydad (12 December, 6pm)
Al Jazira/Auckland City/UrawaRed Diamonds v Real Madrid (13 December, 9pm)
3rd and 4th place (16 December, 4pm)
Final (16 December, 9pm)