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Real Madrid could beat FC Barcelona’s trophy cabinet this month. Here is how

Real Madrid, the 11-times European champions, are the top attraction at this year’s Club World Cup in Japan (to be played from December 8-18) and can overtake arch rivals FC Barcelona as the team with the most international trophies in world football.

football Updated: Dec 07, 2016 11:24 IST
Real Madrid,FC Barcelona,Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane during a training session on the eve of the club’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. (AFP)

Real Madrid are targetting a second Club World Cup triumph in three years to complete a sensational year of renewal under former midfield great Zinedine Zidane.

The 11-times European champions are the top attraction at this year’s tournament in Japan and can overtake arch rivals FC Barcelona as the team with the most international trophies in world football.

Read more |Zinedine Zidane promises Real Madrid will not relax against Borussia Dortmund

Real were in a state of upheaval when they watched Barcelona stroll to a 3-0 win over River Plate in last year’s final, having been expelled from their domestic cup competition for fielding an ineligble player and with coach Rafael Benitez on the brink of being sacked.

Their turn of fortunes under Zidane has been remarkable, the Frenchman quickly galvanising a demotivated squad and masterminding their march to glory in last season’s Champions League and lifting the UEFA European Super Cup.

Read more |Champions League: Turan, Lucas Perez hat-tricks as Barcelona, Arsenal top groups

They are also guaranteed to be top of the league standings in Spain when they embark for Japan.

“Zizou has that kind of magic that dazzles you,” Real captain Sergio Ramos said of Zidane.

“He’s taken the group in the right direction and we’re going places. There’s a lot of harmony, he’s more sympathetic than our last coach and everyone can see what he has achieved.”

Read more | Barcelona equal 20-goal Champions League group stage scoring record

While Zidane’s first full season will be judged on whether Real remain top of the league come the end of May and how far they go in their Champions League defence, the Frenchman is taking the Club World Cup seriously.

He is expected to bring an almost full strength squad, minus the injured Gareth Bale, to Japan as Real target a record 21st international title to take them past Barca and Egyptian side Al-Ahly.

Real’s first game in Yokohama will be a semi-final on Dec. 15 against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors or Mexican side Club America. The final is scheduled for Dec. 18.

First Published: Dec 07, 2016 11:17 IST