Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017 draw: Real Madrid ready to 'break history'
No team have won back-to-back CWC titles, and Spanish club are favourites to do that this year
Real Madrid are determined to create history at this year’s Fifa Club World Cup but will not take victory in the UAE for granted, says former player Emilio Butragueno.
The European champions should be heavy favourites to win the tournament, which takes place from December 6-16, for a second successive year having lifted the title in Japan 10 months ago. Then, they defeated hosts Kashima Antlers 4-2 in extra time in the final in Yokohama, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.
No team have won the Club World Cup back-to-back, meaning Madrid will etch their name into the record books should they prevail in the Emirates. They join the event at the semi-final stage on December 13, where they will face in Abu Dhabi either UAE champions Al Jazira, Oceania champions Auckland City or the winner of next month’s Asian Champions League final.
Madrid have won the Club World Cup twice in the past three years, while in June they became the first team to defend the Uefa Champions League.
Asked at the Club World Cup draw in Abu Dhabi on Monday about Zinedine Zidane's side retaining the title, former striker Butragueno said: “It’s another challenge. I remember at the beginning of last season everybody said no team has been able to win the Champions League two consecutive years and we were able to do it. And so we come here to try and break history as well.
“Every game for us is important. Because, while the expectations are always very high when we are talking about Real Madrid, we have to play well, we have to win every match.
“This is an important competition for us, an important trophy. We won the Champions League - that’s why we are here - so we’ll do our best to win again.”
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The Club World Cup comes during a busy time for Madrid, with the Spanish champions leaving for the UAE immediately following their Primera Liga match at home to Sevilla on December 9.
El Clasico with Barcelona, the league leaders and seven points ahead of fifth-placed Madrid, has been pushed back three days to December 23 to give Madrid ample time to prepare for that clash at the Bernabeu should they make the final in Abu Dhabi.
However, Butragueno insists that, once Madrid arrive in the UAE, they will be thinking only of Club World Cup success.
“This competition is always difficult because it’s in the middle of the season,” said the Spaniard, who now serves as Madrid’s Institutional Director. “We are going to play on Saturday, then come here and play Wednesday. So we have to prepare properly and we have to play at our best if we want to qualify for the final.
“Of course, we have a very good team, we have very talented players, but football is 90 minutes: anything can happen. First of all we have to be focused on the semi-final. We have to take each game at a time, so when we come here we’ll be focused on this tournament and after that we’ll have time to think about La Liga.
“Every time we play a competition we try to win it regardless of other cups. We are delighted with our track record and this is an opportunity to win again and to win more titles. That’s the goal.”
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Updated: October 10, 2017 09:09 AM