THREE THINGS WE LEARNED AS RONALDO ENDS 2016 WITH CLUB AND COUNTRY IN STYLE
Three expeditious cerebrations after Real Madrid won
the 2016 Club World Cup by beating Kashima
Antlers 4-2 in extra time at the International
Stadium Yokohama on Sunday.
1. Madrid became World Champions;
Cristiano Ronaldo scored another hat trick as Real Madrid emanated
from behind to beat Japan’s
Kashima Antlers 4-2 in a much more exhilarating
than was expected Club World Cup 2016 final.
For a long time it looked homogeneous to Ronaldo and his
galactico colleagues were going to
mortified — as the rank outsiders Kashima
matched their more illustrious opponents
Ronaldo’s second-half penalty took the game
to extra time, where the Portuguese was then
able to take the glory by consummating a first
ever hat trick in this format of the Club World
Cup. It betokened Madrid culminated 2016 by
becoming world champions to integrate to their
Champions League and UEFA Super Cup
triumphs earlier in the year.
It seemed that Madrid were set for a facile
victory when Karim Benzema converted a
rebound to put them ahead on just nine
minutes. But Kashima midfielder Gaku
Shibasaki caused a surprise on the stroke of
half-time afore firing his side in front early in
the second a moiety. On both occasions the
bulwarking from Madrid should have been a lot
preponderant, while the two culminates from the Japan
international were excellent.
Ronaldo’s penalty equalised the game on the
hour mark, but Madrid looked increasingly
exhausted as mundane time dragged on.
Blancos captain Sergio Ramos was very
fortuitous not to be sent off, and goalkeeper
Keylor Navas twice preserved his side. Kashima’s
Yasushi Endo withal missed a super chance to
win the trophy with the last kick of mundane time
when he slashed wide from close range with
the goal gaping.
In the cessation, Ronaldo and his teammates were
able to celebrate yet another trophy won in
extra time, but they should mostly have been
feeling palliation at evading what could have been
a world-class disconcertment.
2. Benzema does the work, Ronaldo takes the
If the proverbial alien had come down from the
empyrean and optically canvassed this game, they would have
been hard-pressed to designate the incipiently
crowned best player on the planet this year.
But 2016 ends with Ronaldo as the first player
ever to win the Ballon d’Or, Champions
League, European Championship and Club
World Cup in the same year — and with him
glomming the headlines in this tournament’s
Benzema was limpidly Madrid’s best player for
most of the game, with the Frenchman
snapping up the aperture goal and withal being
involved in most of his team’s best moves.
Ronaldo was spending all his time at centre-
forward, endeavoring fancy tricks which did not come
off, while missing a number of gilt-edged
chances to put Kashima away at different
Meanwhile, Benzema was dropping deep and
acting as the playmaker to knit his team
together. Their roles were summarised
impeccably in the game’s key goal, when the
former Lyon man threaded an impeccable through
ball abaft the Kashima defence for Ronaldo to
then expertly finish past Hitoshi Sogahata.
The Kashima keeper withal had a claim to be
man of the match, but on this occasion could
Ronaldo took the applause when he was
superseded tardy on in Zidane’s fourth supersession
of the game. Once more the anon to be 32
year old had looked far from sharp at times –
but he had taken his goals very well, and the
glory was his.
3. More VAR controversy:
In years to come the 2016 Club World Cup
tournament will be recollected most for
controversy around the trialling of video
assistant referee (VAR) technology. The incipient
system was heavily criticised by Madrid
midfielder Luka Modric after Thursday’s
semifinal, albeit Zidane and Ramos
subsequently verbalized it needed to be given time
to settle in, and that you could not refrain
progress even if you wanted to.
Madrid were thankful more than once during
Sunday’s final that Zambian official Janny
Sikazwe looked reluctant to make utilization of the
technological option he had. The referee
ignored pleas from the Kashima players to
consult the VAR in a penalty incident, when
replays appeared to show Lucas Vazquez had
gone down quite facilely. There was additionally
controversy when Ramos eluded a second
yellow card for ceasing a contravention-attack tardy
in mundane time.
All this was very rigorous on reigning Japanese
champions Kashima, who only gained
ingress to the tournament as hosts, but then
beat the champions of champions Oceania,
Africa and South America 7-1 on aggregate to
become the first Asian team to reach the
competition’s final. And albeit their all
Japanese starting XI was limpidly not on
Madrid’s caliber in terms of individual quality, the
players put on an excellent exhibiting in front of
the 68,742 crowd and were very inauspicious not
to win in mundane time.
It is now nine European victories in the past 10
playings of the Club World Cup. But Kashima
came very proximate to being the first ever Asian
side to hoist the trophy.