Soccer

Ronaldo's goals send him to top of AP rankings

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LONDON (AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo surged to the top of the AP's latest global football rankings on Tuesday, thanks to decisive goals for Real Madrid in La Liga and the Champions League.

Ronaldo was awarded 153 points in The Associated Press survey of 16 global football journalists, comfortably beating Barcelona striker Lionel Messi, who earned 82 points, just six ahead of fellow Argentine Carlos Tevez of Manchester City.

''Cristiano Ronaldo's three goals in two games, one of them against Man United, earn him top honors,'' said panelist Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ''That beats Carlos Tevez's four goals in two games, since he got three of them against Barnsley, which isn't quite the same as scoring against Man U. or even Celta Vigo.''

Real Madrid stayed in first place in the team rankings after knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League and climbing into second place in La Liga with a 2-1 victory over Celta Vigo, Ronaldo scoring both Madrid goals.

Paolo Condo of Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport said scoring at Old Trafford gave Ronaldo the edge.

''It's easy to say Real Madrid and Ronaldo were the best of the week, but if you win at Old Trafford (and then in La Liga) it's obvious,'' Condo said.

Real earned 151 points out of a possible 160, far ahead of Serie A leader Juventus, which beat Catania at the weekend to stay nine points clear at the top of the league.

The threat of elimination from the Champions League after a 2-0 defeat at AC Milan, put panelists in a bad mood with Barcelona, relegating the Spanish league leaders to fourth position, just ahead of Liverpool and PSG.

Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich stayed third in the rankings after it moved 20 points clear at the top of the table with a narrow 3-2 victory over Duesseldorf. Bayern came from 2-1 down to win with an 86th minute goal.

Bundesliga.com writer James Thorogood said Bayern's class shone through despite pressure from Duesseldorf. ''The Bavarians are in unstoppable form and now sit 20 points clear at the top of the table with the potential to wrap up their 22nd Bundesliga title in as little as three weeks' time,'' he said.

Several panelists said Tevez showed few signs of being affected by motoring charges against him in England that could result in a jail sentence.

''If the Argentine's week was tumultuous off the field ... on the field Tevez shone with a hat-trick in the 5-0 rout of Barnsley, sending City to the semifinals of the FA Cup,'' said Leonardo Bertozzi of ESPN Brazil.

AP Global Soccer Rankings for week ending March 10th.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's two goals gave his team a 2-1 victory over AS Nancy-Lorraine and a four-point gap at the top of Ligue 1, while Liverpool's Luis Suarez scored his ninth Premier League goal of 2013 for Liverpool in the 3-2 victory over Tottenham. Last week's leader, Gareth Bale of Tottenham, dropped to sixth.

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AP Global Football Rankings for week ending March 10.

Based on 16 voters, using 10 points for top to 1 point for bottom place.

(Previous rankings in parentheses)

Players:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, (2), 153 points.

2. Lionel Messi, 82.

3. Carlos Tevez, 76.

(tied) Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 76.

5. Luis Suarez, (4), 62.

6. Gareth Bale, (1), 43.

7. Amauri, 33.

8. Diego Lopez, 25.

9. Luka Modric, 23.

10. Mario Gotze, 22.

(tied) Victor Ibarbo, 22

(tied) Jan Vertonghen 22

Teams:

1. Real Madrid, (1), 151 points.

2. Juventus, (7) 103.

3. Bayern Munich, (3), 83.

4. Barcelona, 66.

5. Liverpool, (6), 62.

6. Paris Saint-Germain, 53.

7. Borussia Dortmund, (8), 44.

8. Manchester City, 39.

9. Real Sociedad, 35.

10. AC Milan, (5), 35.



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