Cristiano Ronaldo free kick helps Real Madrid win Club World Cup
Real Madrid 1 - 0 Gremio

Cristiano Ronaldo free kick helps Real Madrid win Club World Cup

16/12/2017

Cristiano Ronaldo scored from a free kick to help Real Madrid beat Gremio 1-0 and claim the Club World Cup in Saturday's final in Abu Dhabi.

Real Madrid became the first club to win the competition in consecutive years and claimed the trophy for the third time in the past four years, a run only broken in 2015 by Barcelona -- the only other club to win three times.

Madrid greatly controlled possession throughout the game, but chances were hard to come by in the first half.

Karim Benzema had the first look at goal when he found himself in space in the 11th minute, but his shot curled away from goal. Ronaldo then stepped up to send in a low shot from distance, but it fell wide.

Madrid had a flurry of chances after 20 minutes, with Dani Carvajal seeing his volley blocked in the box, before Isco sliced a shot high and wide, and Luka Modric took a shot through the box that flashed just past the post.

Gremio's best chance to score came from a long free kick just before the half-hour mark, with Edilson puttin a shot just over the bar.

Ronaldo had a free kick from similar distance also just miss the crossbar 10 minutes later, and the teams returned to the dressing rooms still goalless.

Gremio opened the second half with a penalty shout in the 52nd minute when Sergio Ramos put in a late challenge on Ramiro, but the referee was not interested, and Madrid found their breakthrough on the next attack.

Ronaldo drew a free kick when he was performing his trademark stepovers in front of Jaja, and he made no mistake with his shot, sending it over the wall and inside the near post after one bounce.

It was Ronaldo's seventh career goal in the Club World Cup -- and sixth for Madrid, putting him one ahead of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Cesar Delgado for the most for a single team.

Soon after, Ronaldo thought he had a second when Benzema headed the ball back into his path, but the Frenchman was ruled offside in the build-up in a very tight decision.

Madrid kept up the attack, and Modric nearly added a goal, only for goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe to get down and push the ball onto the post with his fingertips.

Grohe made a few more simple saves to deny Casemiro and Benzema, but the 1-0 lead did not look in any danger.

Gareth Bale came on for Benzema in the 79th minute and -- after Ronaldo first forced a diving save from Grohe -- the Welshman turned a defender and attempted an audacious curler with the outside of his boot, but it flew just over the bar.

But Real Madrid easily saw out the win for their fifth title of 2017 -- the club's most-ever titles in a calendar year after also triumphing in La Liga, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup, and the Spanish Supercopa.

A European club won Club World Cup title for a fifth consecutive year, and four of the previous winners went on to win their domestic league later that season -- the only exception being Real Madrid in 2014-15. Ronaldo and Toni Kroos became the first players to win four titles.

Despite his deciding goal in the final, Ronaldo only came in second for the voting of the tournament's best player, as Modric will take home the Golden Ball instead.

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