Bale matches Ronaldo, Messi with Club World Cup hat-trick

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Keylor Navas has played four times in the competition over the last two years, but it will be the first bow for the Belgium global who is looking to pick his first Club World Cup title.

Asked at the post game news conference whether he could take credit for Bale's impact on the game, Solari said that the responsibility for performances always lay with the players, and pointed to Bale's past goals on huge occasions for Madrid including two victorious Champions League finals.

The victor will advance to the final to face surprising host club Al Ain, which upset Copa Libertadores victor River Plate in the semifinals on Tuesday.

Gareth Bale scored a sensational 11-minute hat-trick as Real Madrid began their quest for a third successive Club World Cup by beating Kashima Antlers 3-1.

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It took the European champions time to settle into a rhythm with Karim Benzema and Bale both wasteful, the latter failing to connect with a right-foot shot after neat build-up play. We knew it would be a tricky game against a tough team.

The Wales worldwide squeezed Madrid's opening goal past Kashima Antlers goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae shortly before half-time and pounced on a defensive mix-up after the break to score again, with his third goal soon after putting the result beyond doubt in the second semi-final.

Benzema could have added a fourth during the closing stages only to fire wide after latching onto Isco's pass, but Real were still able to comfortably see out the remaining minutes to stay on course for their fourth triumph in this competition. Whether he returns to Madrid is not up to me. I feel the same as when I arrived here to work as a coach, and further back as a player. "All of us, coaches, doctors, everyone at the club. He has done great things for Real Madrid". We are going to start preparations tomorrow.

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