Gareth Bale hit an 11-minute hat-trick on Wednesday as Real Madrid strolled into the Club World Cup final by beating Kashima Antlers 3-1 in Abu Dhabi.
Bale scored in the 44th, 53rd and 55th minutes at the Zayed Sports City Stadium to put Madrid within touching distance of a record fourth success in this competition, and their third triumph in a row.
Real are currently tied with their La Liga rivals Barcelona, having each won it three times before, but it would be a major surprise if the European champions were not hoisting the trophy again on Saturday, when they face hosts Al Ain in the final.
Bale had missed the 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano last weekend with an ankle problem but he was in irresistible form, albeit against limited opposition. Read more