Work in Sports
Madrid overtakes Man United in season's final Top 10
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- Real Madrid hadn't finished atop the CNN/World Soccer Top 10 all season long, but the Spanish powerhouse is now guaranteed to stay there through the summer. This week's list marks the start of summer break for the unique ranking of football clubs issued each Monday and determined through voting by correspondents from CNN Sports and World Soccer magazine.
England's Manchester United had ruled the Top 10 for 26 of its 42 previous weeks, but in the final edition, Spain's Real Madrid is rewarded with the top spot after its 3-0 triumph over fellow Spanish side Valencia last Wednesday in the Champions League final.
Real Madrid endured a tumultuous season, getting off to a slow start that cost coach John Toshack his job. Vincente del Bosque took over and guided the team to a strong finish -- fifth place in the Spanish Primera and on top of the heap in Europe.
United's total of 26 weeks far surpassed Italian champion Lazio, which was No. 1 for seven weeks. The only other teams to reach the summit were Spain's Barcelona (4), Brazil's Corinthians (3), Italy's Juventus (2) and Real Madrid. (For more details, see our month-by-month breakdown of the Top 10.)
United sees its record streak of 11 straight weeks at No. 1 end, falling to second. United had started the season in August 1999 with seven straight weeks on top after winning the treble -- the Champions League, English Premiership and FA Cup.
Jumping all the way from 10th to third is Brazil's Corinthians, the defending Paulista and national champion, which also captured the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship in January. Corinthians advanced past fellow Brazilians Atletico Mineiro last week to reach the semifinals of South America's club championship, the Copa Libertadores.
Corinthians then proceeded to lose to Sao Paulo 2-1 in the first leg of the Paulista state championship semifinals.
Italian double-winner Lazio comes in at No. 4 after the most successful season in the club's 100-year history. The Roman side captured the Scudetto in dramatic fashion over Juventus and then defeated Inter Milan for the Italian Cup days later. Lazio was bounced from the Champions League in the quarterfinals by Valencia.
Staying steady at No. 5 this week is Germany's Bayern Munich, which was near the top of the list for most of the year but never a No. 1. Bayern captured the Bundesliga title on the last day of the season, leapfrogging rival Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern also earned the double, taking the German Cup from Werder Bremen. Bayern was knocked out of the Champions League in the semifinals by Real Madrid.
Dropping from fourth to sixth this week is Valencia, which saw its Cinderella run in Europe ended by Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Valencia finished level on points in the Spanish Primera with Barcelona, just five points behind champion Deportivo La Coruna, this week's No. 7.
Closing out the Top 10 in a three-way tie are Turkey's Galatasaray, Argentina's Boca Juniors and Brazil's Palmeiras.
Galatasaray capped its season with an unprecedented treble -- taking home the Turkish Cup, Turkish league title and the UEFA Cup, after defeating England's Arsenal on penalty kicks.
Boca Juniors rejoins the list after eliminating Argentine rival River Plate in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores. Boca currently sits three points behind River Plate in the Argentine standings, but has played 12 games to River's 13.
Palmeiras also makes a return to the Top 10 after a Copa Libertadores triumph, having knocked out Mexico's Atlas. Over the weekend, Palmeiras drew 0-0 with Santos in a Paulista championship semifinal first leg.
Also receiving votes this week are Juventus, Barcelona, FC Porto (Portugal), Vasco da Gama (Brazil), Arsenal, River Plate.
After Italy spent much of the season with multiple teams in the Top 10, Spain rules at the end. The only countries with more than one team in the final poll were Spain with three and Brazil with two.
And now as many of the world's top clubs break for the summer, so does the Top 10. The list will return in August.