Real Madrid became world champions again in Abu Dhabi, and their success was due in no small part to the best player in the final against Al Ain, Marcos Llorente.
It’s the third time in a row that Los Blancos have achieved the accolade, which is something that no other team had managed in the history of the Club World Cup,
Until Santiago Solari‘s appointment, the academy player barely had weight within a Real squad that had its go to defensive midfielder in Casemiro.
However, since the Brazilian’s injury, Llorente has truly emerged as a viable alternative, and he didn’t disappoint at this tournament either.
It’s as if he had a master’s degree and a doctorate in the two games he played against Kashima and Al Ain.
Nobody’s doubting now that he’s a valid member of this squad and will continue to play, assuming responsibility and gaining important minutes.
Defensive midfielders aren’t necessarily known for their goal scoring prowess, so when they do score, it’s headline news.
Think of Casemiro‘s volleys by way of example.
Well, in the final of the Club World Cup, Marcos Llorente achieved something that he hadn’t done before, and that was to score a goal, which underscored his performance.
The midfielder usually wanders around the edge of the area, waiting for a loose ball or to cut open the opponent’s defense.
On this occasion it was the turn of a bad clearance from Al Ain.
Llorente saw the ball coming and didn’t hesitate, rifling home a shot past a bewildered Khalid Eisa.
It was a strike that took the game out of reach of the hosts, and from that point onwards, Real Madrid knew that a seventh Club World Cup title would be theirs.
Llorente, having never scored in LaLiga Santander, wasn’t sure what to do next, so he went looking for the nearest team-mate to celebrate with.
That goal, and his obsession to steal balls from his opponents, led him to be considered the best player in the game, pipping Gareth Bale, who’d had a great first half.
“I’m happy and I have no intention of leaving,” Llorente said after the match and with the cup in his arms.
A star is born… and he plays at Real Madrid.