Zinedine Zidane has stressed Real Madrid will not take Kashima Antlers lightly in Sunday’s Club World Cup final.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is desperate to add the Club World Cup to his trophy cabinet as the Champions League holders prepare to take on Kashima Antlers in Sunday’s final.
The European champions saw off Club America 2-0 on Thursday thanks to Karim Benzema’s first-half effort and Cristiano Ronaldo’s late strike – his 500th career club goal.
Kashima defeated Atletico Nacional 3-0 in their semi a day earlier and Zidane says the Japanese side have the quality to spring what would be a huge upset, especially in front of the Yokohama crowd.
“This game is hugely important for us, we came here to win,” Zidane told reporters.
“We have to play well and know what we have to do. Our opponent will make life hard for us. But we are ready.
“Our first game was a bit odd for us because of the journey and the pitch, but we are ready now. It has been a bit boring to spend so much time in the hotel, but that is part of the profession.
“Kashima have won three games and they deserve to be in the final. But we are ready for the task ahead after preparing for a week. Japanese football has improved a lot in recent years. Kashima are a good team, very well organised and they defend well.
“The fans will be on their [side], but that does not change anything. We will give our all because we will have to be on top of our game to win.”
Madrid are aiming to win the competition for the second time in three years having beaten San Lorenzo to take the title two years ago.
But Zidane says that experience will count for little on Sunday.
“We are not thinking about our Club World Cup win two years ago. Things do not always go the same way,” he added.
“We will enjoy a week off after this tournament and will then be back working hard once more.”—AFP