Football News

Carlo Ancelotti draws level with Pep Guardiola as Real Madrid and Toni Kroos scoop another Club World Cup

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:22, 11 February 2023

Real Madrid extended their lead as the most successful club in Club World Cup history as they beat Al Hilal 5-3 in Morocco on Saturday night.

It was a Club World Cup final for the ages as both sides decided to forego defending in favour of goalscoring, culminating in an eight-goal thriller, although Real Madrid never truly looked uncomfortable. Los Blancos were heavy favourites going into the game against Saudi side Al Hilal and history was in their favour.

A European side had won the Club World Cup in each of the previous nine seasons and they were also unbeaten in all matches against Asian opponents in the competition, with Al Hilal just the third AFC team to reach the final.

It took Real Madrid 13 minutes to go ahead in the final, with Vinicius Jr asserting the European champions’ early dominance. Five minutes later Federico Valverde made it 2-0 with his second goal of the tournament, having also found the net in the 4-1 win over Al Ahly in the semi final.

By half-time it was 2-1 with Moussa Marega pulling a goal back but by the hour mark Real Madrid had restored their two-goal lead through Karim Benzema and then went even further ahead as Valverde grabbed his second. Then the fun really started. Luciano Vietto brought the deficit back to two, Vinicius made it 5-2 and then Vietto scored again with 10 minutes left to play.

But unfortunately Al Hilal’s energy ran out and the final 10 minutes (plus seven added time) passed without a ninth goal, handing Real Madrid yet another Club World Cup.

Los Blancos have now won the competitive five times, moving two clear of bitter rivals Barcelona as the most successful side in Club World Cup history. Grabbing their first in 2014 by beating San Lorenzo, Real Madrid won again in 2016 with a penalty shootout victory over Kashima Antlers, 2017 (Gremio) and 2018 (Al-Ain). They have also now won 10 games in the competition, more than any other side – two clear of Al Ahly – with just two draws.

It was also a landmark win for Carlo Ancelotti, who won the Club World Cup for the third time, drawing him level with Pep Guardiola as the tournament’s most successful manager. Ancelotti’s first win in the competition came back when he was AC Milan manager in 2007, beating Boca Juniors in the final. He scooped number two with Real Madrid’s 2014 win over San Lorenzo, before doing the threepeat vs Al Hilal.

Then there’s Toni Kroos. Being present for all five of Real Madrid’s Club World Cup wins, Kroos was also part of the Bayern Munich side which won the competition in 2013, meaning the German has won more Club World Cups than any other player – and any single team.