Real Madrid prepares to contest Club World Cup in Japan
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 13, 2016 09:42 AM
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo warms up with teammates during a training session in Yokohama near Tokyo, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Real Madrid and Mexico's Club America will play in the semifinal of the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Real Madrid arrived in Japan and went straight to work.
Madrid arrived in Tokyo on Monday at 5 a.m. and was greeted by about 300 Japanese fans at Haneda airport before boarding a team bus. The Spanish club held a light training session in the evening and has a couple of days to overcome jet lag before Thursday's Club World Cup semifinal match against Mexican team Club America.
"We arrived well. We are mentally well and happy to be here," Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "Today we will be resting and tomorrow we will see what we will do."
Madrid set a club record after a 35th consecutive match without a loss by beating Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 on Saturday.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Luka Modric did not play Saturday. Gareth Bale is recovering from a foot injury.
European teams have been the most successful in the tournament, with eight titles.
Zindane said he has been looking into Club America and expects to do more in the next several days.
"We have already studied our rival," Zidane said. "I saw Club America in their most recent game and a few cup games. We will do some more research about them in the next few days."
Madrid hasn't lost since April at Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals of last season's Champions League. They return to the Club World Cup with 13 of the players who won the title in 2014, when they beat San Lorenzo in the final.
Winning the Club World Cup could launch Real Madrid to a unique quadruple title haul.
Madrid has a shot at becoming the first team to win the Champions League, Spanish league, Copa del Rey and the Club World Cup in the same season. It leads the Spanish league, is through to the knockout stage of the Champions League, and is alive in the Copa del Rey.
"Madrid has always the obligation to win every tournament it plays," Madrid defender Marcelo said. "Every tournament we play we must give our best to win. We are here with a great will and a lot of hope to win."