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2009- through the rearview

2009 has been anything but shy on blockbuster stories. With so many monumental events it was hard to just pick out the five most memorable ones, but we tried and this is what we think really shaped last year.

1. 14th July, 2009- With only 80 overs to do the job, it was no wonder that all hell broke loose when Bangladesh conquered the once fearsome West Indian side. Despite the latter being made up of bits and parts player, it was still an accomplishment nonetheless. Under the astute leadership of superstar Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh recorded their only 2nd Test victory, 9 years after being granted their Test Status.

2. Federer's back-to-front-through-the-legs shot against Novak Djokovic got him a 7-6 (7-3) 7-5, 7-5 victory in the US Open semi-finals this year. It was what he called his greatest shot ever, and was surely one of the best ever seen in the “sport of kings”. Federer displayed a mixed up overall performance this year, managing an injury and then setting off to beat Pete Sampras' record, winning the French Open title and regaining the number 1 spot.

3. 25th November, 2009- Tiger Woods' fall from grace began right after the car accident started a media frenzy. The curious many dug deeper and deeper until a despicable truth surfaced. The billionaire Golfer, the so-called pariah, the messiah of the game, had finally shown his true colours. The hype was dying down. Major Companies began cutting ties with Woods and an expected partial retirement was soon announced. Will this be the end of perhaps the greatest golfer ever?

4. June 1st 2009- Florentino Perez's return as Real Madrid president had all of Madridsta dreaming of the next era of Galacticos. And it happened. Impatient to wrestle the dominance from Barcelona's grasp, Perez poured in over 200 million pounds. Purchasing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema and under the tutelage of Manuel Pellegrini, it is only a matter of time till Real Madrid once again become the most feared team in Europe.

5. When Caster Semenya won the Gold in Women's 800 metres at the 2009 World Championship in Athletics, South Africa celebrated the birth of a new star. However, when questions about her gender began to surface, the nation sat shocked and appalled. Semeya's case became the most public and controversial case of gender verification in sports. The news became a media craze and Semenya's plight was dragged through the fields of racism and human rights.

Truly a blockbuster year. Comebacks and controversies will surely be on the menu as 2010 opens itself to the drama and the excitement of the Sport's World. We all await.

By Osama Rahman and Fayaad Islam

Greatest steals of the decade

THIS decade has seen more transfer fee paid for players than ever before. Well, this is quite an obvious phenomenon given the rapid rate of inflation and everything. But which of the transfer have really paid off the most with the least investment? A quick glance then at the 5 greatest transfers of the decade based on the cost of the original acquisition:

5. Lampard- Costing the Blue's 11mil, Lampard has grown to be Chelsea's most reliable player and truly one of the best midfielders in the world currently. 89 goals later, it seems that West Ham should really have asked for a lot more. Leading the Pensioner's to two Premier League titles, Lampard is already considered to be a London Legend.

4. Adebayor- When Arsene picked Adebayor from Monaco for a meager sum of 3mil many eye-brows where raised. Breathless performances and 46 league goals coupled with the 20mil profit gained from his sale ensured that it would be hard to wipe the smirk of Wegner's face. Adebayor is now considered to be the most feared striker in the EPL today, another gem plucked from obscurity by the Arsenal manager.

3. Cesc- Arsene Wegner has a knack for recognizing talent before it even shows and he proved this once again when he picked his future captain from Barcelona's youth ranks for a fee believed to be in the region of less than a million pounds. His arrival clashed with the emergence of the 'Invincibles' thus he couldn't muster a single league appearance, however he made his debut in a cup tie on 23rd October, becoming Arsenal's youngest ever first-team player, aged 16. Currently valued at around 30 million, it would be an understatement to say that he was a steal.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo- Sure 12.24 million pounds can't be considered cheap, but just imagine the return. A Golden Ball winner never cost that less and can 42 goals in a single season be forgotten? Single-handedly winning games and inspiring his team-mates, Ronaldo paid back Ferguson's faith and did justice to his number 7 jersey. Best mention that Ferguson made a cool 68 million pound profit on the superstar and along with all the revenue from advertising and merchandise sale, Alex must have been laughing all the way to the bank.

1. Kaka- Who can imagine that Berlusconi paid only 3.5 million pounds for this future Ballon D'or winner? Who knew that the Sao Paolo star would go on to become one of the greatest footballers on the planet? The Milan Supremo was right to consider the amount to be 'peanuts'. 5 titles with A.C. Milan including single handedly leading them to the Champions League title (Did I mention he also won a World Cup?), Kaka has forever endeared himself with the Milan faithful. A 57 million pound profit from his sale to Real Madrid wasn't exactly the worst ending to this happy tale.

And there you have it. Sure countless others may have deserved mentions, but these are the five gems we chose to highlight. Next up: Franco Di Santo and Gael Kakuta.

By Osama Rahman


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