Solari lauds Zizou's legacy at Real

Real Madrid players celebrating after winning the Fifa Club World Cup for a record fourth time in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Real Madrid players celebrating after winning the Fifa Club World Cup for a record fourth time in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ABU DHABI • Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari paid tribute to the "work of Zinedine Zidane" after the European champions lifted the Fifa Club World Cup for a record fourth time.

Solari's men overtook three-time winners Barcelona after thrashing Emirati outfit Al Ain 4-1 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday for his first piece of silverware since replacing the sacked Julen Lopetegui in October.

The Argentinian, however, was quick to laud Zidane, who left the LaLiga side in the summer after leading them to three straight Champions League trophies, for laying the foundation for their recent successes.

After landing Real's third straight Club World Cup, the Argentinian told reporters: "We're very happy, these players deserve this.

"This is the icing on the cake of winning the Champions League three years in a row. We can't forget we're here thanks to Zidane.

"It's going to be difficult for any team to do what this side has done."

The Spanish giants have endured a turbulent start to the season, culminating in the firing of Lopetegui, but Solari has somewhat steadied the ship with 11 wins in 13 games under his watch.

  • 85%

    Real Madrid's win rate under Santiago Solari (11 victories in 13 games), including a record fourth victory in the Fifa Club World Cup final.

They had little trouble in brushing aside Al Ain, whose surprise run to the final included a three-goal comeback against Team Wellington to triumph on penalties and a shock shoot-out victory over Copa Libertadores winners River Plate.

The opposition could not mastermind another upset as two long-range strikes from Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric and Marcos Llorente - his maiden goal - set Real up for the comfortable win.

Tsukasa Shiotani's consolation goal was sandwiched between captain Sergio Ramos' goal for Real's third and an added-time own goal by Yahia Nader.

Llorente, who was delighted after finally getting off the mark with a fantastic volley, told reporters: "This is what we expected from ourselves, what we have been working on every week. It's my first for the senior team, and what could be better than in this final."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2018, with the headline 'Solari lauds Zizou's legacy at Real'. Print Edition | Subscribe