Lionel Messi has been voted the best footballer in the world and Barcelona the best team in the world – for a week at least.
The Associated Press released the inaugural AP Global Soccer 10 football rankings yesterday, with a panel of 18 football writers from around the world picking their top ten players and top ten teams.
AP then combines the results, with the first choice of each journalist receiving ten points, and the last choice receiving one point.
That means any one individual or team could score a maximum of 180 points, and Messi wasn’t a million miles away with his score of 140 points for the week ending October 29th.
His total was helped by a brace in the 5-0 win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday night, with the second strike his 300th career goal for the Blaugrana.
Cristiano Ronaldo came second on the list with 111 points, whilst Atletico Madrid star Radamel Falcao completed a La Liga sweep of the top three places on 79.
Robin Van Persie, who scored in Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Chelsea, came fourth, with Juan Mata and Javier Hernandez (7th and 8th) the other Premier League representatives.
Barcelona got the nod in the team rankings after the aforementioned thrashing of Vallecano, and even at this early stage of the season, Tito Villanova’s side are clearly the team to beat in La Liga.
Atletico Madrid are the team pushing Barca to the limit in Spain though, with Falcao firing his side to joint-top of the Spanish table. They have 109 points in the rankings, 21 less than Barca.
Manchester United are rewarded for their win at Stamford Bridge with third-place in the table, although Sir Alex Ferguson’s side remain one-point behind the Blues at the top of the table.
Schalke (6th), Shaktar Donetsk (9th) and Ajax (10th) all reap the benefits from their impressive wins over Premier League opposition in the Champions League, whilst Borussia Dortmund sit above Real Madrid in fourth and fifth respectively after their midweek European battle.
Everything can change in seven days, of course, but it doesn’t take a genius to work out the Messi, Ronaldo and Falcao won’t be far away from top spot throughout the 2012/13 season.
Whether a player like Neymar - who plies his trade in Brazil - can break into the top ten remains to be seen, as the initial positions were all taken by European teams and European-based players.
If anyone can do it, then surely it’s the Santos superstar. The panel will decide.
AP Global Soccer 10 (for week ending Oct. 29.)
1. Lionel Messi, 140 points.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 111.
3. Radamel Falcao, 79.
4. Robin van Persie, 73.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 61.
6. Gonzalo Higuain, 50.
7. Juan Mata, 41.
8. Javi Hernandez, 28.
9. Cesc Fabregas, 27.
10. Mario Gotze, 26.
1. Barcelona, 130 points.
2. Atletico Madrid, 109.
3. Manchester United, 105.
4. Borussia Dortmund, 81.
5. Real Madrid, 64.
6. Schalke, 59.
7. Juventus, 53.
8. Bayer Leverkusen, 49.
9. Shakhtar Donetsk, 37.
10. Ajax, 35.