It is difficult to see anything but a third Club World Cup triumph in four years for Real Madrid when they take on Gremio in this year’s final.
No South American team have won the competition since Corinthians beat Chelsea in 2012. Real have won the trophy twice after that game while Bayern Munich and Barcelona have also triumphed.
Brazilian side Gremio do not have the quality to stop Real ending 2017 with five titles, even though Zinedine Zidane’s team have stuttered in the last few months.
Real are fourth in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona, and had to come from behind against Al-Jazira in the semi-finals in Abu Dhabi before edging to a 2-1 victory, thanks to goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
However, Gremio were equally unimpressive in the semi-finals, being taken to extra time before seeing off the Mexican side Pachuca 1-0.
Real had to come from behind to defeat the Japanese side Kashima Antlers in last year’s final – eventually winning 4-2 after extra time – and there could be a similar scenario this time.
Gremio won the Intercontinental Cup, the forerunner to the Club World Cup, in 1983 when they beat Hamburg 2-1.
The man who scored both Gremio’s goals in the final 34 years ago, Renato Portaluppi, is now their coach and the odds on the Brazilian side causing a major shock by beating Real are 35/4.
Gremio qualified for the Club World Cup by winning the Copa Libertadores last month – beating the Argentinian team Lanus 3-1 on aggregate while Real Madrid saw off Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final in June.
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