Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari described Saturday’s historic Club World Cup win as having provided “the finishing touch to a wonderful start” to his tenure.
Real claimed the trophy for the third successive year with a 4-1 victory over United Arab Emirates champions Al Ain in Abu Dhabi.
It was a record fourth triumph in the competition for Real, with them surpassing LaLiga rivals Barcelona’s tally of three wins, as Solari celebrated his first silverware in management.
Solari has now overseen 13 matches in all competitions since succeeding the sacked Julen Lopetegui, during which Real – who are fourth in the LaLiga table – have won 11 times, lost twice and qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League.
The 42-year-old was quoted on the club’s official website as saying: “Being here is down to the players, they won this title.
“This trophy put the finishing touch to a wonderful start for me and we will try to keep going.
“Winning three Champions League titles and three Club World Cups will be hard to top. These players and this club have truly made history.
“This team and this club are used constantly winning. The more we win, the more you know how difficult it is to keep on winning titles. If you travel by plane, the more journeys you do, the more risks you run.
“We got through the semi-finals (a 3-1 win over Japan’s Kashima Antlers) due to solid attack and seriousness and today it was more of the same. We played a well-rounded game and we got the win. We scored when we needed to.”
The Spanish giants went 1-0 up in the 14th minute through Luka Modric’s delightful curling effort, and Marcos Llorente added a fine finish of his own on the hour mark, firing a low shot in – his first Real Madrid goal.
Skipper Sergio Ramos made it 3-0 with a 79th-minute header and after Tsukasa Shiotani netted a consolation for Al Ain seven minutes later, the three-goal advantage was then restored in stoppage time via an own-goal from Yahia Nader.
Solari added: “I am really satisfied and now we are going to make the most of it because I really wanted to win this cup.
“It is a brilliant tournament and it is now more beautiful than ever before. It was great fun. The next step is to take a holiday because we need it.
“This team never gets tired of winning and gives this tournament the credit it deserves.
“You can’t forget the titles we’ve won and must keep them in mind. We can’t rest on our laurels, but we shouldn’t stop enjoying it because it’s hard to get here.”