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Real Madrid clear favorites for World Club Cup, but Ancelotti asks for respect for Al Hilal

Madrid, Feb 10 (IANS) Real Madrid are clear favorites to win the World Club Cup when they play Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal in Rabat on Saturday night.

Real Madrid reached the final after beating Egyptian team Al Ahly 4-1 in Thursday’s second semifinal, while Al Hilal produced a surprise when they defeated Brazil’s Flamengo 3-2, 24 hours earlier.

Andriy Lunin will continue in goal for Real Madrid as Thibaut Courtois works to recover from a groin injury he suffered prior to his side’s La Liga defeat in Mallorca last weekend, Xinhua reported.

“We are close to a title that is very important to us. Getting here has been very difficult and we have sacrificed a lot to get here,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti in his pre-game press conference.

Although Real Madrid will be the clear favorites, the coach insisted Al Hilal are a “good team, with individual qualities”, explaining that they have “a lot of players from the Saudi Arabian national team, which did very well in the World Cup.”

“It is a team that we respect a lot and they showed all their quality in the semifinal, beating Flamengo. It’s a World Cup final and it’s a very important match that doesn’t happen many times in a football career,” Ancelotti commented.

The coach also discussed Karim Benzema and Eder Militao, who didn’t travel with the rest of the squad on Monday, but have since traveled to Rabat.

“They have come because we think they have the chance to play. Today’s training is going to be very important for them. They have chances, otherwise they wouldn’t have come here,” Ancelotti said.