Cristiano Ronaldo led the way as Real Madrid beat Gremio 1-0 to successfully retain the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, securing them a fifth trophy of 2017.
Gremio coach Renato Gaucho claimed in the build-up that he was a better player than Ronaldo, and the Portugal star provided the perfect response on the pitch, frequently troubling the Brazilian side and scoring the all-important goal.
Madrid often looked susceptible on the counter-attack in their 2-1 semi-final win over Al Jazira, though the same could not be said against Gremio as the European champions exerted complete control in the first half.
Plenty of chances fell Madrid's way, though it took them until the second half to break the deadlock and there was more than a hint of fortune about it, with Ronaldo's free-kick somehow finding its way past Marcelo Grohe and making him the first player to score in successive Club World Cup finals.
1 - Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player to score in consecutive FIFA Club World Cup finals. Hero. pic.twitter.com/GEGf4sy5dJ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 16, 2017
Luka Modric saw a 25-yard effort of his own tipped on to the post soon after, as Madrid's search for a second left them frustrated.
Ultimately it did not matter, as Gremio failed to cause the LaLiga team any problems in spite of their own desperation and Zinedine Zidane's men had little difficulty holding on to claim the Club World Cup title for a third time in four years.
It did not take Madrid long to establish dominance and they kept the South American champions penned in their defensive third for extended periods during the early exchanges.
The Spanish side were not shy in getting shots away, though most of them were from distance and caused Gremio goalkeeper Grohe few problems.
Grohe had to be quick off his line in the 21st minute, however, as he rushed out to smother Raphael Varane's effort after Sergio Ramos flicked on a corner, with Modric shooting wide from 20 yards a few moments later.
Gremio eventually had a chance of their own and they went close, Edilson's 40-yard free-kick flying agonisingly over.
And Ronaldo threatened in similar fashion just before the break when his long-range shot from a set-piece grazed the roof of the goal.
Madrid's dominance showed no sign of letting up after the interval and few could claim they were not deserving of the lead when they finally ended Gremio's resistance.
Ronaldo dazzled Jailson with some quick stepovers and lured him into a foul, before shooting through the wall from the resultant 25-yard free-kick and finding the bottom-left corner.
The Portugal star then had another ruled out a few minutes later due to Karim Bernzema straying offside.
Modric nearly added a legitimate second just after the hour mark, but Grohe managed to tip his effort on to the post.
Gremio's need to throw men forward provided Madrid with several opportunities to counter during the final stages and, although they failed to add to the score, Zidane's men comfortably held on to lift the Club World Cup, giving them the perfect boost ahead of El Clasico next Saturday.
Key Opta facts:
- Real Madrid have won five titles in the same calendar year for the first time ever (La Liga, Champions League, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup).
- Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time highest-scoring player in the Club World Cup (seven goals).
- Madrid have become the first club to be world champions in consecutive years since Sao Paulo under Tele Santana in 1992 and 1993 (Intercontinental Cup).
- Madrid have matched Barcelona (three) as the side with the most Club World Cup wins.
|Kane a doubt for north London derby|
|Mourinho sacking changes things – Tuchel|
|Nets top Lakers in Brooklyn, extend winning streak to six games|
|LeBron on Lakers potentially acquiring Davis: That would be amazing|
|Rain helps Sri Lanka claim draw against New Zealand|
|Mourinho had to ´take the consequences´, says Klopp|
|Ausilio: Icardi has offer on table, won´t be sold to Juve|
|Chargers lead NFL Pro Bowl selections, Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Pro Bowl 2019: Chargers lead NFL with 7 selections, Drew Brees named NFC starting QB|
|Savea re-signs with All Blacks, Hurricanes|
|Flanagan facing de-registration as Sharks, Tigers cop huge fines|
|Napoli rejected £95m offer for Koulibaly amid United links – De Laurentiis|
|Kovac feels for axed United boss Mourinho|
|Rabiot, we do not need you – PSG fans respond to wantaway midfielder|
|Guardiola hails assured debut from Man City youngster Garcia|
|He´s very happy at Tottenham – Arsenal boss Emery wants Pochettino to reject Manchester United|
|Rams sign RB C.J. Anderson|
|Good luck with the Red Devils - Norway PM´s message for Solskjaer|
|Pogba was ´dancing on the grave´ of Mourinho - Neville|
|Solskjaer set to replace Mourinho after Man United gaffe|
|City signing Steffen up to Guardiola´s goalkeeper demands, says Berhalter|
|Mourinho is so strong - Guardiola backing for fallen rival|
|Mourinho? Ausilio dismisses Inter return after United sacking|
|Whyte needs to raise his game to beat Chisora again - Haye|
|Brussino leads late Tenerife rally as Venezia down Holon|
|Orleans 1 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Super sub Diaby sends holders through|
|Leicester City 1 Manchester City 1 (1-3 on penalties): Muric stands tall in poor shoot-out|
|Middlesbrough 0 Burton Albion 1: League One side reach semi-finals|
|Bologna 0 AC Milan 0: Bakayoko sent off as Inzaghi claims point against former side|
|Fortuna Dusseldorf 2 Borussia Dortmund 1: Bundesliga leaders suffer shock first loss|
|Rivera yet to make a call on sitting Panthers QB Newton|
|Pulisic would thrive in Premier League, but Berhalter expects Dortmund stay|
|Raptors coach Nurse fined by NBA for criticising referees|
|Solari ´loves´ struggling Real Madrid star Isco|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Lukaku, Fred and his other Man United signings rated|
|Mourinho sacked: What does it mean for Manchester United players?|
|Ibrahimovic provides short-term pain, long-term gain for US - Berhalter|
|River Plate 2 Al Ain 2 (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Perez misses decisive spot kick|
|De Bruyne and Aguero back for City, surprise debut for Garcia|
|Uncapped Varun ´panicked a little´ after huge IPL deal|
|Replays scrapped for FA Cup fifth round|
|Pochettino readies big guns for Gunners|
|Ex-Wasps star Wade struggling with NFL transition|
|BCCI rejects ´baseless´ claims over Kohli-Paine ´banter´|
|Ibrahimovic re-signs with LA Galaxy for 2019|
|Mourinho sacked: Solari not worried for Real Madrid job|
|Mourinho sacked: 895 days and more than £700,000 in five-star luxury|
|ES Tunis 1 Guadalajara 1 (6-5 on penalties): Dhaouadi holds nerve to settle ill-tempered affair|
|Murphy lands permanent Tigers role|
|Mourinho sacked: Real Madrid´s Marcelo lauds ´great coach´ after United exit|
|Unadkat, Varun the top buys at IPL auction|
|Emery prepared to give youth a chance in north London derby|
|Tottenham extend Vertonghen contract until 2020|
|Panthers safety Reid receives seventh random drug test of 2018|
|Kovac relishing Klopp challenge in Champions League|
|Bancroft to return, teenager Lamichhane to fly the flag for Nepal in Big Bash|
|Liverpool still have plenty of work to do - Klopp|
|Messi ´never imagined´ his success after winning record fifth Golden Shoe|
|WATCH: Timberwolves´ Gibson tries to block shot with his trainer|
|Mourinho sacked: Klopp praises departed Manchester United boss|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose the best Manchester United manager since Ferguson - Gerrard|
|Mourinho sacked: Ferdinand calls for ´fresh ideas´ at Man United|
|Mourinho sacked: The mystique has gone as United spell ends in divorce|
|´He´s an interest not only for us but for many´ - Zola praises rumoured Chelsea target Wilson|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino focused on Spurs amid Manchester United rumours|
|Mendis eyes double-century for departing Samaraweera|
|Mourinho sacked: Zola expects Jose to be in another job ´soon´|
|Mourinho sacked: Five reasons it went wrong at Manchester United|
|Mourinho sacked: Jose´s Manchester United record in Opta stats|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|