Real aiming for third Club World Cup

European champions Real Madrid begin their campaign to win a third Club World Cup with a semi-final against Al Jazira in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Zinedine Zidane’s side are aiming to become the first team to win the competition in successive seasons.

Barcelona are the only team to have won the Club World Cup three times since it was launched in 2000.

The competition features Fifa’s six reigning confederation champions plus the league winners of the host country.

Real were given a bye into the semi-finals and their opponents Al Jazira are in the tournament as they are the Arabian Gulf League champions.

They set up their meeting with Madrid by beating New Zealand’s Auckland City in the play-off. They then followed that up with victory over Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the quarter-finals.

Real Madrid won the competition in 2014 and 2016 but defender Marcelo is taking nothing for granted in his side’s pursuit of a fifth trophy in 2017.

“Nothing is easy, especially in football. I’ve played in two Club World Cups and won them both, but it was difficult,” he said.

“Nothing comes easy at Madrid. I’ve been here for many years and everything’s been tough. We’ve won a lot of titles, but we’ve had to work for it.”

If Madrid win they will face Brazilian side Gremio in Saturday’s final after they beat Pachuca of Mexico 1-0 after extra time in the other semi-final.

BBC