The week in review: The season delights - Emirates24|7

The week in review: The season delights


There were celebrations aplenty in Madrid, Munich and Pakistan, but in Japan it was a sombre week as Super Aguri finally crashed out of Formula One.

Real Madrid defended their Spanish La Liga title with a 2-1 win against Osasuna, the first time the European giants have retained the league since they won it five straight times through 1986-1990.

Manager Bernd Schuster was brought in to improve the team's style of play after former manager and now England coach Fabio Capello's rigid tactics were seen as embarrassing – even though they brought Real a first trophy in four years last season.

Schuster had to make do without David Beckham and Roberto Carlos, but quality flair players such as Chelsea's Arjen Robben (Dh184m) and Ajax's Wesley Sneijder (Dh105m) were drafted in and together with Brazilian Robinho, Madrid were off to a flying start to the season.

They stumbled a bit towards the end, but the quality shone through and they held on to comfortably capture their 31st league title – made even sweeter with the knowledge that arch-rivals Barcelona end the season empty handed.

Bayern Munich, meanwhile, finalised their position as German football's best team when they clinched the Bundesliga title this week. It was to be expected following a P56 million (Dh416m) spending spree last summer.

Last season the club had stumbled along and failed to even qualify for the European Champions League.

A major overhaul was conducted at the German juggernaults last year and new manager Ottmar Hitzfeld was instrumental in managing to get the new superstars, including Franck Ribery and Luca Toni, to adjust so quickly.

French midfielder Ribery, who signed for P22 million (Dh169m) from Olympique Marseille, was outstanding in the league. His creativeness and scoring prowess has drawn comparisons between him and former French superstar Zinedine Zidane.

Meanwhile, Toni, a snip at $9m (Dh62m) from Fiorentina, leads the goalscoring charts with 21 in 29 Bundesliga games so far and 36 in 44 games in all competitions.

Mark van Bommel and Ze Roberto gave the team security in midfield, while Daniel Van Buyten and Lucio were commanding in defence.

Away from football and the Pakistan Cricket Board have "unbanned" Shoaib Akhtar for... one month. The PCB were obviously feeling a bit guilty for banning the fast bowler for five years, a ruling the Indian Premier League upheld, which effectively ended his career.

But now the PCB has suspended the sentence allowing Akhtar to earn his $450,000 (Dh1.64m) contract with the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.

As it is a three year contract, one wonders what will occur at next year's tournament – will they unban him again for 44-days so he can "earn his living".

Further good news for Akhtar is that PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf also withdrew his $3.65 million (Dh13m) lawsuit against the player after Akhtar issued a public apology for alleging that Ashraf was blackmailing Pakistan players.

On to the fast track where struggling Formula One team Super Aguri disbanded itself and withdrew from the most-watched motorsport.

The team, who were vying to be the first complete Japanese team, slowly ran out of backers and were on a steady decline and it comes as no surprise to see them crash out.

No week in review is complete without a mention of the IPL and at the last glimpse: Shane Warne was hailed by former Australian captain Ian Chappell as "the greatest captain Australia never had".

The leg-spinner continues to lead his Rajasthan Royals, the cheapest of the IPL franchises, on a remarkable winning streak and to the top of the table. Also on a roll are Preity Zinta's Kings Punjab XI. The Bollywood actress' beauty is clearly a huge inspiration there.