Ramos set for return in Club World Cup final
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.”