2022 Club World Cup: Real Madrid to seek eighth global title in Morocco
Real Madrid, who are out to complete a historic sextuple in 2022/23, will return to the country where they won the Club World Cup in 2014.
Real Madrid now know when and where they’ll battle it out to lift the 2022 Club World Cup, as Los Blancos target a historic sextuple of trophies this season. As in 2014, Morocco will host the seven-team FIFA tournament - an event which, on this occasion, will see Madrid bid to be crowned world champions for the eighth time in their history.
February return to Morocco for Real Madrid
Scheduled to be held from 1 to 11 February, the Club World Cup will offer up the third available piece of silverware in Madrid’s potential six-trophy haul this term. The Spanish and European champions have already won the UEFA Super Cup, and are due to compete in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia in January.
Morocco, a country that boasts a sizeable contingent of Madrid fans, holds happy memories for the LaLiga giants. It was in the North African country eight years ago that the team secured the Club World Cup for the first time (having previously won the tournament’s predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup, on three occasions). With current head coach Carlo Ancelotti still in his first spell as Madrid boss, Los Merengues lifted the title after beating Argentinians San Lorenzo 2-0 in the final in Marrakesh, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale scoring the goals.
As they found out in 2014, Madrid will feel right at home in Morocco. It is among the overseas countries with the highest number of official Real Madrid supporters’ clubs: only the United States (17) and Switzerland (14) have more than the 13 that currently exist on Moroccan soil. Meanwhile, the tournament returns to Morocco at a time when the country’s game is riding a considerable high, in the wake of the national team’s unprecedented run to the semi-finals at the World Cup in Qatar.
Four other Club World Cup teams confirmed; two still to come
The 2022 Club World Cup currently has five confirmed participants. Together with UEFA Champions League holders Madrid, the event will feature Brazil’s Flamengo (as CONMEBOL champions), Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca (CAF champions), Seattle Sounders of the US (CONCACAF champions), and New Zealand’s Auckland City (OFC champions).
We’re still waiting to find out the winners of the 2022 AFC Champions League, while it remains to be seen how FIFA will fill the spot designated for the hosts. Given that Wydad have qualified as African champions, Morocco already has one participant; in previous Club World Cups, the rules have not allowed multiple teams from a single country to take part. Further details, such as the venues that will be used and when the Club World Cup draw will be, are also still to be confirmed.
Real Madrid’s February fixtures headache
Real Madrid’s involvement in the tournament stands to wreak havoc with the club’s schedule in early February. The club will have to postpone their week-21 LaLiga clash with Elche, as well as a potential Copa del Rey semi-final first leg. A new date will also need to be found for Madrid’s week-17 league meeting with Valencia, which has already been rearranged once because of the Spanish Super Cup. It’s a veritable fixture-list puzzle - and the calendar was full to bursting as it was.
The Elche game may well be straightforward to reorganise, as Madrid don’t currently have a match in the midweek after the Club World Cup. If Ancelotti’s men reach the Copa del Rey last four, however, the opening leg of that tie could prove trickier to reschedule. Madrid’s possible Copa opponents include clubs that are in the Europa League and Conference League and wouldn’t be free on the same midweek days as Los Merengues, who are in the Champions League.
The key piece in the jigsaw seems to be Madrid’s matchup with Valencia, and there are two apparent courses of action. One is to leave the game more or less where it is. LaLiga has scheduled it for Thursday 2 February, but it would need to be brought forward so that Madrid can play their week-20 game against Real Mallorca on Saturday 4th and have time to rest before their commitments in Morocco. Their Club World Cup semi-final would be on Tuesday 7th or Wednesday 8th. The other option - if Madrid make it to the Copa del Rey semis - is to move their clash with Valencia and hold the cup game in the first week of February.
Real Madrid’s February fixture list: as it stands
*If Real Madrid qualify