Carlo Ancelotti joked he is grateful he does not have to retire at the end of the season after Federico Valverde struck his 10th goal of the campaign in Real Madrid’s Club World Cup final win.
Valverde netted twice at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Morocco as Madrid defeated Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal 5-3 to win the competition for a record-extending fifth time.
Ancelotti said in September, when Valverde had three goals to his name, that he would rip up his coaching licence if the versatile right-sided attacker failed to reach double figures in a single campaign for the first time in his career.
That milestone was reached on Saturday in emphatic style, with the pair embracing on the sidelines after Valverde’s second goal of the game.
“I’m grateful because I don’t want to retire,” quipped Ancelotti, who has now won the competition three times, in his post-match press conference.
“He has gone through a very difficult period. Valverde offers us a lot playing on the right.”
@MrAncelotti: “This trophy will give us a new impetus for the rest of the season.” #W8RLDCHAMPIONS pic.twitter.com/ESxe9PLqCg
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 11, 2023
Vinicius Junior also scored twice for Madrid, while there was a welcome goal for Karim Benzema on his return from an injury lay-off.
Brazil winger Vinicius was also on the scoresheet in the semi-final win over Al Ahly and won the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament.
Vinicius has faced appalling racist abuse in Spain this season, but he once again let his football do the talking on the pitch in Rabat.
“We are delighted for him because we can see he’s still improving,” Ancelotti said. “He’s much more effective now. He scores and makes a difference in every game we play.
“He was hurt by our loss against Real Mallorca last week but was ready to play in this tournament. We’ll now go back to Madrid hoping the way he’s played in this tournament will give him a boost.
“We know he won’t play on Wednesday [against Elche] because he’s suspended, so I’ll give him a couple of days off which will do him good, even though he isn’t showing any signs of fatigue. The opposite is true.”