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.
|FA Cup Review: Iheanacho makes VAR history, kit confusion reigns|
|Wallaby saves wallaby: Farr-Jones in Sydney Harbour Bridge rescue mission|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: PSG, Man City drive record-breaking spending|
|Conte packing in homework as Chelsea games stack up|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: The headlines in transfers, wages and revenues|
|2016-17 UEFA Study: Manchester United record highest revenue but largest debt|
|Monaco stay perfect, Murcia overcome Oldenburg|
|Iheanacho scores English football´s first VAR goal|
|Materazzi not surprised by Coutinho transfer fee|
|Ronaldinho retires - Brazil and Barca great plans 2018 farewell|
|Jags RB Leonard Fournette uninjured in three-car accident|
|India revenge would heal Proteas´ scars - Elgar|
|Koziello swaps Nice for Cologne|
|Simeone ready to unleash Costa and Vitolo alongside Griezmann|
|Head coach Cooper to leave Stade Francais|
|Silverwood plays down talk of replacing Bayliss|
|Lambert ´never thought´ he would return to Premier League|
|Wenger ´very aggressive´ towards referee Dean, says FA report|
|Reported Arsenal target Malcom starts for Bordeaux vs Caen|
|Valverde not making big deal of Dembele´s latest Barca blow|
|Costly day for Kohli as Proteas close in on series win|
|Date set for Afghanistan´s maiden Test|
|Returning McIlroy ready to end winless run|
|In-form Short leaves coach Kirsten needing dental treatment|
|Arsenal will have a ´hard time´ signing Malcom|
|Ronaldo and Madrid nominated for Laureus awards|
|Nantes´ Diego Carlos brands Chapron clash ´historic´|
|This is not important - Conte unconcerned if substitutions upset Hazard|
|Conte ´doesn´t think´ Chelsea have pursued Sanchez|
|Cobblestone climb part of 2019 Tour de France Grand Depart|
|Emery hints at Neymar return against Dijon|
|Joshua labels Parker claims ´fake news´|
|´Emotional´ Fleetwood honoured by Seve Ballesteros Award|
|Tears for Kvitova as Bouchard sets up Halep meeting|
|Mkhitaryan key to United-Sanchez deal, claims Raiola|
|WATCH: Sabalenka wins point using racquet throat|
|Federer, Djokovic and Zverev among Australian Open first-round winners|
|Kubica gets reserve role as Williams hire Sirotkin|
|Shambolic Stars out after Sixers thrashing|
|Wales pick uncapped Worcester wing Adams in Six Nations squad|
|Tevez: CSL spell was a holiday|
|Mignolet considering Liverpool future|
|Laidlaw among several returning stars in Scotland Six Nations squad|
|´Fairy tale´ 2017 motivation for Federer|
|Fred waiting for Guardiola call amid Man City speculation|
|Dominant Federer makes light work of Bedene|
|Halep faces nervous wait over ankle injury|
|Inter confident but patient over Rafinha|
|Kohli fined after umpire outburst|
|Djokovic hits back at Australian Open boycott suggestions|
|De Grandhomme lifts Black Caps to win in Taylor´s 200th ODI|
|Giggs had counselling after Old Trafford exit|
|Durant continues dominance over Cavs as Warriors win|
|Halep survives scare and rolled ankle at Melbourne Park|
|Westbrook ejected against Kings after arguing call|
|Djokovic eases past Young on return|
|Sharapova staying grounded after Melbourne win|
|Neville: Mourinho would happily swap Mkhitaryan for Sanchez|
|Raonic suffers surprise loss in Melbourne|
|Sharapova wins on return to Australian Open|
|Pirates send McCutchen to Giants|
|Man United becoming Pogba´s team – Mourinho|
|Saints, Steelers coaching staffs to lead Pro Bowl teams|
|LeBron says we cannot let racism ´conquer us as people´|
|Super Bowl hopeful Belichick cautiously preparing for Jaguars|
|Cardinals veteran Yadier Molina: Three more years before retirement|
|The best finishes in NFL playoff history - Where does Keenum & Diggs´ Minneapolis miracle rank?|
|Can ´talking with everyone´ but hints at Liverpool stay|
|Mourinho ´not unconfident´ Manchester United will sign Sanchez|
|Pogba warns City that United will not give up the chase|