Club World Cup dates still up in the air
Real Madrid still do not know the dates on which the tournament will be played, something that could affect the team’s planning. It is thought that it will be in February, but there is nothing official.
The 2022/23 LaLiga season is about to start and it is not yet known when one of football’s most prestigious tournaments, the Club World Cup, will be played. That could turn out to be a problem for Real Madrid, who will be representing Europe after winning the Champions League. In a particularly demanding season due to the number of competitions that Ancelotti’s team will play (they have the chance to win the sextuple), planning in advance is crucial, especially considering that on this occasion, the Qatar World Cup appears halfway through the campaign.
In the meantime, all Madrid can do is wait. An extra tournament like the Club World Cup always affects the players’ preparation, due to their particular timing within the calendar. [Fitness trainer, Antonio] Pintus should know in advance when the squad will have to travel to China, hosts of this year’s Club World Cup. He needs to know the exact dates to have time to adjust the players’ regime. The majority of Madrid’s stars will be taking part in the Qatar World Cup from 21 November to 18 December. They will head to Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup that takes place from 11-15 January. After that, on a date yet to be determined, will be Club World Cup.
Three teams confirmed
The reason why there is such uncertainty about the date is obvious - it’s difficult to find the right moment. At Real Madrid, it is thought that the tournament will likely be played in February, as it had been during the last two seasons (last season it took place from 3 to 12 February). However, there is a problem: the winner of the Asian Champions League will not be known until 26 February which makes it impossible to hold the competition until March at the earliest. The alternatives would be the exclusion of the Asian champions or delaying the date of the final. As of the moment, only three teams have been confirmed - Real Madrid as winner of the Champions League, Seattle Sounders as champion of the Concachampions and Wydad Casablanca, which won the African Champions League. The remaining four will be, in addition to the Asian champions, the champions of the Libertadores, the Oceania Champions and the Chinese Super League winners, as representatives of the organizing country.
Doubts about the tournament have been raised in recent years. In 2018, FIFA wanted to change the current format, expanding the competition from seven to 24 teams, allowing other clubs to enter apart from the champions of each confederation. However, the plan has not crystallized. Nevertheless, it continues to be a highly valued competition in which Madrid is the most successful club, having won it seven times. Madrid won the old Intercontinental Cup three times (in 1960, 1988 and 2002) and four trophies under the current format (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018). They will travel to China as the big favourites - even if the date is still up in the air...
Madrid have done better under the new format
Real Madrid’s seven world championship titles eclipse the four won by AC Milan and Bayern Munich. Real Madrid have had better luck in the competition since the old Intercontinental format was dumped. Los Blancos lost the 1966 and 2000 finals against Peñarol and Boca Juniors, respectively. They have won four out of four since 2006, as well as achieving three in a row. In 2014, Ramos and Bale sentenced San Lorenzo (2-0). Benzema and Cristiano’s hat-trick would account for the Kashima Antlers in 2016 (4-2). Once again the Portuguese ace, with a solitary goal against Grêmio, decided the 2017 edition. While Modric, Marcos Llorente, Ramos and a Nader own goal annulled Al Ain’s resistance in 2018 (4-1). In February, or when FIFA decides, Madrid will travel to China with one aim - to their winning run in the tournament alive.