Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Messi Tops AP Global Ratings

From the Associated Press:

Lionel Messi moved back to the top of the AP Global Soccer rankings, and Barcelona stayed No. 1 in the team poll after a 4-0 win over Levante in the Spanish league.

Messi earned 183 out of a possible 200 points from The Associated Press' panel of 20 global soccer journalists. Last week's winner, Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was second. Ibrahimovic topped the previous poll mainly for his four goals for Sweden against England.

Barcelona was voted the top club of the week after stretching its lead to three points over Atletico Madrid and 11 points over third-place Real Madrid.

Ibrahimovic had 124 points, while another Barcelona player, Andres Iniesta, moved into third place with 119.

''Two clinical finishes from Messi got Barca rolling towards a 4-0 win against Levante and followed his Champions League double against Spartak,'' panelist Will Tidey of the San Francisco-based Bleacher report said. ''Gerd Mueller's record is just three goals away.''

Mueller, a former Germany and Bayern Munich great, holds the record for most goals scored in a calendar year with 85.

The panel's two Italian voters, Paulo Condi of La Gazzetta Dello Sport and Aurelio Capaldi of Rai Sport, paid tribute to Iniesta.

''He made things easy for Barca as he twice set up Messi, scored a goal and allowed Cesc Fabregas to kill the game,'' Capaldi said.