Messi tops AP rankings again, ahead of Reus

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Associated Press

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 12:04 PM

BERLIN (AP) — Barcelona's Lionel Messi again topped The Associated Press global soccer rankings this week, but Borussia Dortmund striker Marco Reus came close to toppling the Argentina forward.

Reus's hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga earned him 163 points from the 21 panelists. The panel is made up of global soccer journalists, with each awarding 10 points for the top player and team of the week.

Messi had 165 points and has dominated the rankings since they started last year.

Barcelona, which leads La Liga by 12 points, was voted team of the week with 128 points. The Spanish power was followed by two German teams — Dortmund, with 116, and Bayern Munich, the Bundesliga leader, with 115.

Francesco Totti , Roma's 36-year-old veteran, led the field of those trailing a long way behind Messi and Reus. Totti received 80 points while Cristiano Ronaldo, last week's leader, and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea shared fourth place.

"A Francesco Totti special fizzed past Gianluigi Buffon to give Roma victory against Juventus," said Will Tidey of the San Francisco-based Bleacher Report. "The veteran Italian icon has still got it."

Bundesliga.com writer James Thorogood said Mario Goetze and Reus stood out for Dortmund.

"If Mario Goetze was the director, then Marco Reus, a perpetual motion machine in his own right, was the leading man in Dortmund's successes this week," Thorogood said. "The 14-time German international stood out from the crowd against Frankfurt courtesy of his first hat trick as a BVB player. Borussia Dortmund top the pile on account of twice overcoming adversity this week."

Stevan Jovetic, Fiorentina's Montenegro striker, was in sixth place after his two goals helped beat Inter in Serie A. Tottenham's Gareth Bale was seventh, dropping from third last week.

Filip Bondy of the Daily News of New York paid tribute to the Welsh winger.

"Bale is on an incredible run right now for Tottenham, and for Wales," Bondy said. "His direct kicks are now every bit as deadly as David Beckham's, but he also has the mobility and power that Beckham lacked."

"Spurs won't hold on to him for long," Bondy added, echoing widespread speculation that Bale will leave England for a top Spanish club next season.

Orfeo Suarez Gonzalez of Spain's El Mundo said, "it was the best week for the goalkeepers, with De Gea as the man of the match in the Bernabeu against Cristiano and Company."

Manchester United, which held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the Champions League at the Bernabeu, was fourth in the team rankings after Barcelona and the two German clubs, with Fiorentina in fifth and Madrid in sixth. Roma, French clubs Sochaux and Lyon and Manchester City made up the last four places.

Paolo Condo of Italy's sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport pointed to the play of Reus.

"The ranking involves this week not only the weekend clashes for national championships and cups, but also the first four first legs of the Champions League round of 16," he said. "So, I really appreciated the pride and the strength of Dortmund and Manchester United, able to achieve a good draw in the home of their opponents."

___

AP Global soccer rankings for week ending Feb. 10 (previous rankings in parentheses):

Players

1. Lionel Messi, (4), 165 points.

2. Marco Reus, 163.

3. Francesco Totti, 80.

4. (tie) David De Gea, 70.

4. (tie) Cristiano Ronaldo, (1), 70.

6. Stevan Jovetic, 64.

7. Gareth Bale, (3), 61.

8. Mario Balotelli, (9), 48.

9. Luis Suarez, 32.

10. Mario Goetze, 30.

Teams:

1. Barcelona, (1), 128 points.

2. Borussia Dortmund, 116.

3. Bayern Munich, (2), 115.

4. Manchester United, (3), 92.

5. Fiorentina, 81.

6. Real Madrid, (4), 75.

7. Roma, 65.

8. Sochaux, 43.

9. Olympique Lyon, 42.

10. Manchester City, 38

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