Sergio Ramos does not believe that fans watching Real Madrid at the Club World Cup will see a much different side from the one which won the tournament last year, despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was sold to Juventus in the summer and Real Madrid have returned to the United Arab Emirates to defend the trophy which they won last year when he scored the winner in the final against Gremio.
Los Blancos’ semi final opponents are Asian Champions League winners Kashima Antlers, who they beat in the 2016 final when Ronaldo scored a hat trick.
Clearly the Portuguese superstar has been an important player for Real Madrid in this intercontinental competition, but Ramos is backing his team to win the tournament for a third consecutive year without him.
“I don’t think you’ll see much of a difference on the pitch,” Ramos told FIFA. “We’ve got quite a similar team, despite losing Cristiano, who was a very decisive player for us. We’ll compete with the same approach that the club has always taken. Winning is always the objective.
“The Club World Cup is a reward for your success in the previous season. It gives you an opportunity to confirm your standing by becoming world champions, and it’s a wonderful experience.
“We’ve got some really nice memories of it, because we’ve been successful on previous occasions. It’s a short competition and there’s no margin for error. There’s a semi-final and then a final, and we want to bring the Cup back home.”
Real Madrid, who qualified for the Club World Cup by beating Liverpool in the Champions League final back in May, take on Kashima Antlers on Wednesday 19 December.