Real Madrid aims to cap landmark year in FIFA Club World Cup
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti says winning the Club World Cup would cap "an unforgettable year" for the champions of Europe. Madrid makes its entrance in the competition on Tuesday against Mexico's Cruz in the opening semifinal.
"All the teams are champions and winning would mean putting an end to an unforgettable year," Ancelotti said Monday in comments published on Madrid's website. "We are heading into it with a lot of excitement."
After heavy rain soaked the pitch in Rabat, organizer FIFA moved Madrid's match to the Stade de Marrakech, which will now stage all the remaining matches. Ancelotti welcomed the switch in venue but said Madrid didn't request it.
"It's a good thing because it is a semifinal of a global competition and it has to be played on good grass. I think it will be a good pitch for a good game," the manager said.
He indicated that fitness problems will likely keep out James Rodriguez and Sami Khedira on Tuesday but said they "will definitely be good to go for the next match," which will be either the final or for third place, with both those games on Saturday. Cruz Azul, the CONCACAF champion, will present a stern test, Ancelotti predicted.
"They are a quality side with experienced players who have played in Spain and are already familiar with our style. It is a semifinal and every team is dangerous at this level. It will be an intense match."
South American champion San Lorenzo of Argentina plays Oceania champion Auckland City in the second semifinal Wednesday.