Ronaldo Nets Hatrick As Real Madrid Emerge World Champions [REPORT]

Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid clinched the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup crown after defeating Kashima Antlers in extra-time at the International Stadium, Yokohama, on Sunday, December 18.

It was the second victory in the competition for Los Blancos in three years after they triumphed in Morocco in 2014, but they were made to dig deep by the gritty J League champions.

In the first competitive meeting between the sides, Karim Benzema gave the European champions an early lead after he latched onto a rebound off Luka Modric’s half-volley for his second goal in as many games.

But with half-time approaching, Kashima found the equaliser when Gaku Shibasaki collected a neat cross from Shoma Doi before evading his marker to rifle past Keylor Navas and send the host fans into raptures.

The game was turned on its head when Kashima took the lead on 52 minutes after showing great technique to beat several defenders before tucking his left-footed effort from the edge of the area into the bottom corner.

Their lead was short-lived, however, as Ronaldo, who recently won a fourth ballon d’Or, converted a penalty on the hour-mark after Shuto Yamamoto brought down Lucas Vazquez inside the area.

The Asian champions missed a glorious opportunity to seal victory in stoppage time when Endo saw his shot sail wide after being played through inside the area, and Zinedine Zidane’s men made them pay in extra-time when Ronaldo restored their lead on 96 minutes, before converting again from close range to seal the title.

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