Ramos set for re­turn in Club World Cup fi­nal

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - Ser­gio Ramos

YOKO­HAMA: Ser­gio Ramos is set to re­turn for Real Madrid in the Club World Cup fi­nal. The Spain in­ter­na­tional wasn’t fully fit for Thurs­day’s 2-0 semi­fi­nal win over Club Amer­ica of Mex­ico, but has de­clared him­self ready for to­day’s clash against Ja­panese cham­pion Kashima Antlers. “To­day my con­di­tion is very good,” Ramos said yester­r­day. “I had a full ses­sion with the other play­ers to­day so if the coach needs me I would like to play to­mor­row.”

Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane made clear the 30-year-old Ramos is in his plans. “Yes, he is our cap­tain and his con­di­tion is get­ting bet­ter,” the former France great said. “He was able to par­tic­i­pate in the train­ing to­day, there­fore yes, he should be in the team to­mor­row, no prob­lem. I hope that he will be able to play the full game.”

Ramos scored a 92nd-minute win­ner in the 3-2 vic­tory over De­portivo La Coruna in the Span­ish league on Dec. 10 and a 90th-minute equal­izer in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona a week ear­lier.

But Ramos is hop­ing that no late hero­ics will be needed to­day. “Of course if I can score a goal I will be very happy, but I don’t want to wait un­til the last minute like in pre­vi­ous matches,” he said. “I would like to be­come a cham­pion, that is all.”

Ramos opened the scor­ing when Madrid won the 2014 Club World Cup ti­tle, beat­ing San Lorenzo of Ar­gentina 2-0. Madrid is un­beaten in any com­pe­ti­tion since April 6, a run which has stretched to 36 matches.

Kashima is the first Asian side to progress to the fi­nal, and coach Masa­tada Ishii is look­ing for­ward to his team’s big day. “For me, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the fi­nal has a very spe­cial and sig­nif­i­cant mean­ing,” the 49-year-old Ishii said.

“Re­gard­less of who we are play­ing against, ad­vanc­ing to the fi­nal is a very big thing to mo­ti­vate my play­ers. The fi­nal is a very spe­cial match so I’m sure my play­ers are ex­cited.”

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