R.Madrid, Destro top of this week’s AP global 10
LONDON (AP) Real Madrid has taken team of the week honors in The Associated Press global football poll for the second time this season after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the Champions League and Real Sociedad 4-0 in La Liga.
Real’s win over Sociedad kept up the pressure on city rival and Spanish league leader Atletico Madird, this week’s runner-up. Its 1-0 win over Villarreal kept it three points ahead of Real.
”Real Madrid is the best team in Europe at the moment,” voter Cedric Rouquette of Eurosport in France said. ”They’re showing it just as much in the Champions League as in La Liga. It’s the most efficient and complete team around at the moment, All they need to do is to maintain this form for two months, which is not a given.”
Mattia Destro is the top player, after scoring a hat trick in Roma’s 3-1 away win over Cagliari at the weekend. The win sees his side ranked eighth in the team vote.
His treble took his tally for the season to 13 goals and panellist Aurelio Capaldi, of RAI Sport in Italy believes Destro has a chance to be included in Italy’s squad for the World Cup.
”Mattia Destro looks more and more comfortable since coming back from a long-term injury: he’s helping As Roma with an amazing scoring average (one goal every 83 minutes) and took the ball home in Cagliari where Roma won thanks to his hat-trick,” Capaldi said. ”Destro inevitably becomes an option for Italy manager Cesare Prandelli who still has to make some key choices before flying to Brazil.”
Steven Gerrard is second of the players after scoring both goals from the penalty spot as Liverpool beat West Ham 2-1 to stay top of the Premier League. His side has polled fourth this week, a place above city rival Everton, who beat Arsenal 3-0 to raise its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. Romelu Lukaku, scorer of Everton’s second goal, is seventh.
”These are extraordinary times on Merseyside. Liverpool have won their last nine league games, Everton their last six and both recorded equally momentous wins on Sunday,” Richard Jolly of ESPN in England said. ”Keep up this form and Liverpool could replace Manchester as the footballing capital of England.”
But Manchester United enjoyed one of its better weeks under David Moyes, following up a hard-earned 1-1 draw in Champions League with Bayern Munich with a 4-0 thrashing of Newcastle. Juan Mata, who scored twice in that win, enters the top ten in third this week.
And United will be even more hopeful of securing a quarterfinal place in Europe’s elite competition as Munich lost its 53-match unbeaten record with a 1-0 defeat to Augsberg, who has polled seventh.
French league leader Paris Saint-Germain is third after following up its impressive 3-1 victory over Chelsea in the Champions League with a 3-0 victory against Reims.
”Paris Saint-Germain destroyed Reims with a ”second-rate” team on Saturday, fielding an alternate XI in preparation for the big match against Chelsea this week,” Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report said. ”Lucas Moura dazzled and dazed, strolling through the defensive lines and putting the full-backs to shame.”
Lionel Messi is fifth this week, after scoring twice and leading Barcelona to a 3-1 win over Real Betis. Barcelona, ninth in the team poll, remain second in La Liga and trail Atletico by a point.
1. Mattia Destro, 118 points.
2. Steven Gerrard, 94.
3. Juan Mata, 79.
4. Gareth Bale, 68.
5. Lionel Messi, 67.
6. Ezequiel Lavezzi, 46.
7. Romelu Lukaku, 42.
8. Fernando Llorente, 36.
9. Thibaus Courtois, 26.
10. Raul Garcia, 24.
1. Real Madrid, 140.
2. Atletico Madrid, 124.
3. Paris Saint-Germain, 112.
4. Liverpool, 108.
5. Everton, 76.
6. Manchester United, 75.
7. Augsburg, 57.
8. Roma, 53.
9. Barcelona, 44.
10. Juventus, 43.