Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick fires Real Madrid to Club World Cup title
Cristiano Ronaldo smashed a hat-trick as Real Madrid survived a colossal scare to beat Japan's Kashima Antlers 4-2 and lift the FIFA Club World Cup yesterday
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo poses with the Golden Ball trophy yesterday. Pic/AFP
Yokohama (Japan): Cristiano Ronaldo smashed a hat-trick as Real Madrid survived a colossal scare to beat Japan's Kashima Antlers 4-2 and lift the FIFA Club World Cup yesterday.
A Gaku Shibasaki double briefly threatened one of football's greatest shocks after Karim Benzema had given Real an early lead in Yokohama. But Ronaldo equalised from the penalty spot before pouncing twice in extra time to give the Spanish giants their second world title in three years and fifth in total.
Real Madrid players celebrate after winning the FIFAâÂÂClub World Cup final against Kashima Antlers of Japan yesterday. Pic/AFP
"Bloody hell, what a game!" said a breathless Ronaldo. "We had to suffer, but that's what finals are all about. People always expect more of Cristiano," he added, speaking of himself in the third person.
"It has been an unforgettable year — winning the Champions League, the Super Cup and the Euros with Portugal. "And to score three more goals and to have such a perfect end to this dream year, it's incredible."
The victory extended Real's club record unbeaten run to 37 matches in all competitions. Gaku Shibasaki cancelled out Benzema's opener on the stroke of halftime. The Japan midfielder then smashed home a left-foot shot from long distance seven minutes after the break.
Kashima's lead was short-lived, however, as Ronaldo levelled from the spot.
Ronaldo, who scooped his fourth Ballon d'Or last week, put Real back in front with a clinical low finish eight minutes into extra time.
And the Portuguese superstar completed his hat-trick — the first in a FIFAâÂÂClub World Cup final — six minutes later.
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