Real Madrid secured their fifth FIFA Club World Cup, or eighth if you include its predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup, by beating Al-Hilal in an entertaining final which ended with eight goals as the Spanish team ran out 5-3 victors.
Despite the close scoreline thanks to goals from Moussa Marega and a brace from former Atlético Madrid and Villarreal forward Luciano Vietto, early strikes from Vinícius Júnior and Fede Valverde, who both also scored two, and a second-half goal from Karim Benzema meant that it was Real Madrid who got their hands on the silverware.
Here are three stats that help to understand the significance of the game.
8 out of 10: Carlo Ancelotti’s record in finals with Real Madrid
This was Carlo Ancelotti’s eighth final as Real Madrid coach, coming only weeks after only his second ever cup final defeat. This time, he took his winning tally to eight and made it look easy. In doing so, he added his second Club World Cup title to the club’s trophy cabinet.
It means that his record in finals with Los Blancos now stands at eight wins out of 10. That’s an 80% success rate, higher than he achieved with Chelsea or AC Milan. The only clubs he’s been at with a higher win rate in finals are Juventus (two finals played, both won) and Bayern Munich (two finals played, both won).
In truth, this was one of the easier tests that he’s faced with a trophy at stake given the standard of opposition in Al-Hilal, but it does maintain a curious record. Six of his 10 finals with the club have been in continental or international tournaments, but he has never lost a cup final with Real Madrid to a side from beyond Spanish shores. Al-Hilal have now joined a list that includes San Lorenzo of Argentina, Liverpool of England and Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany in falling to the Italian’s team.
Only Atlético Madrid in the 2014 Spanish Super Cup and Barcelona in the 2022 Spanish Super Cup have beaten a Carlo Ancelotti Real Madrid team in a final. Until this match, they were also the only teams to ever have scored in a cup final against Ancelotti during his stint at the club. Al-Hilal’s first-half goal from Moussa Marega was the first to be scored in such a final by a team from outside of Spain.
11: Goals this season for Fede Valverde
Scoring a brace here, Fede Valverde proved that he is back to his best. In doing so, he scored in back-to-back games for the first time since scoring in three consecutive games against Barcelona, Elche and Sevilla in October.
He also took his tally for the season to 11. In doing so, he surpassed the number of goals he had scored for Real Madrid, either in the first team or with Castilla, in 178 matches before this season. Since making his Castilla debut in 2016, he had scored nine goals across 178 matches heading into this season’s kick-off. In 2022/23, he has now scored 11.
In addition to two well-taken goals, Valverde also created the highest number of chances in the match with two chances generated, and looked like a player who was thriving and happy with his confidence back. The hug with Carlo Ancelotti reflected that too.
After his second goal of the night, his pregnant partner Mina Bonino tweeted to reveal that the couple thought they had lost a baby which was on the way, with a test coming back on Friday to confirm that the baby was still alive and well. This brace will have given them something extra to celebrate this weekend.
9: The most goals scored by a single team across two Club World Cup games ever
Critics will question the importance of the Club World Cup, but one thing they certainly cannot doubt after this tournament is the entertainment factor. On this occasion, Real Madrid’s two fixtures in the competition involved 13 goals, with nine of those going in their favour.
That matches the tournament record and Real Madrid’s own record in the competition, from the 2000 edition when the tournament had four fixtures as Los Blancos scored three against Al Nassr, two against Corinthians, three against Raja Casablanca and one against Nexaca before a penalty shoot-out defeat. The next best return from a Spanish team is Barcelona in 2011, when they scored eight goals across two games.
The only other teams to have achieved nine goals in a single edition of this competition are Kashima Antlers in 2016 and Al-Ain in 2018. Though it must be said that on those occasions, both the Japanese and United Arab Emirates sides did have the benefit of playing four matches, as opposed to the two which Real Madrid had in this edition.
In this case, Fede Valverde and Vinícius Júnior shared the top goalscorer award for Real Madrid specifically with three each, though the overall winner was Pedro of Flamengo as the Brazilian ended the tournament with four. Other goalscorers for Los Blancos include Rodrygo Goes and Sergio Arribas in the semi-final against Al Ahly, and Karim Benzema, scoring his fourth career goal in the competition, in the final against Al-Hilal.