It took a second half comeback, but Real Madrid eventually emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over Al Jazira in the semifinal of the Club World Cup.
Los Blancos fell behind to an early goal from Romarinho, with the misfiring Cristiano Ronaldo cutting a frustrated figure for the majority of the opening stages.
In all honesty, the relentless chants of “Messi, Messi, Messi!” emanating from the home fans in Abu Dhabi probably didn’t help either.
They were produced to commemorate him winning his fifth Ballon d’Or award last week and also bore the name of his two daughters, Eva and Alana.
As for the match itself, Gareth Bale eventually secured Real’s place in the final — the Welshman scoring the winner mere seconds after emerging from the bench in the 81st minute.