World No. 1 footballer Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 500th club goal in Thursday’s 2-0 Club World Cup semifinal win against Club America.
Goals late in each half at the International Stadium Yokohama from Karim Benzema and Ronaldo saw the Champions League holders through to Sunday’s final against tournament hosts Kashima Antlers, who surprised Copa Libertadores winners Atletico Nacional in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Ronaldo slotted home in injury time from James Rodriguez’s pass for what was his first goal in the Club World Cup, but 500th overall for his clubs – having scored 377 for Madrid, 118 for Manchester United and five for Sporting Lisbon.
The 2016 Ballon d’Or winner had looked keen to score throughout, hitting the post with a header and miscuing a chance in front of an open goal, and Butragueno said everyone at the club was delighted he managed to get on the score sheet.
Delighted Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane told his post match news conference that Ronaldo’s late effort had put to bed a game his side should have taken control of earlier.
“We were a bit playing at their pace. It was also a hard pitch, and the ball did not roll very much. The first half was difficult but we managed to score before half-time. The second half was much better. We should have killed off the game sooner, but we did it through Cristiano at the end. But we are happy with the game.”
There was initially some confusion around Ronaldo’s goal as players on both teams looked on as Paraguayan referee Enrique Caceres used the new video assistant referee technology to see if there had been an offside or not.
Madrid midfielder Luka Modric said afterwards that he did not like Fifa’s new system and hoped it would not be rolled out any further.
But former French international Zidane said he was in favour of anything which improved the game, but added that he hoped the system would become clearer in future.
“We must adapt to what Fifa wants to do,” Zidane said.
“Improving things is good for football. My feeling is that, for example in this move, there was a bit of confusion. Things must be done clearer for everyone.”
He expects another tough challenge against Kashima Antlers in Sunday’s final, and added his team would be prepared to face opponents who had not been expected to make it this far.
“You never know what will happen. We always watch the games of all the teams we could face. It is about the team in general, we are not going to pick out just one of their players. It will be a difficult game, for sure.
“Now the most important thing is to rest well and prepare as we have just two days before Sunday. Motivation is not a problem for us. We are professionals and have come a long way to win what is an important trophy for us.” – ESPN