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Totti, Roma top AP football polls

October 8, 2013

LONDON (AP) — The ageless Francesco Totti spearheaded Roma’s win at Inter Milan and shot both to the top of this week’s Associated Press global football poll.

The 37-year-old Totti received 51 votes more than last week’s winner, second-placed Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid, from the 20-man panel of global football journalists.

″‘The Roman Emperor’ rules again,” said Soren Mikael Hansen, editor of Politik in Denmark. “At 37 Francesco Totti showed a world-class performance at the San Siro by leading the way to a humiliation of Inter.”

Roma, unbeaten in seven Serie A games, finished four points ahead of last week’s team winner, Atletico.

It’s the fourth straight poll that one club has achieved the team and player double.

Similarly to Roma in Serie A, Atletico is unbeaten in La Liga, thanks mainly to the sensational goal-scoring form of Diego Costa, who has earned a call-up for Spain as a result of 10 goals this season.

His tally should be 11 as he missed a penalty in a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo last weekend, but he scored both of his side’s goals as Atletico kept pace with Barcelona, also unbeaten.

“No wonder Barcelona are top of La Liga, but the way Atletico Madrid are keeping their rhythm is amazing,” said Aurelio Capaldi of RAI Sport in Italy. “They’re the only teams capable of winning every game both in La Liga and the Champions League.”

Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj is third in the player poll, after a two-goal debut in a win over the English Premier League’s bottom club, Sunderland. The 18-year-old Januzaj has prompted the English media to question whether he’ll make himself available for England in the future. Januzaj has been turning down overtures from Belgium.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain and Neymar of Barcelona rounded out the top five.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich finished third after a fantastic 3-1 away win over Manchester City in the Champions League before drawing 1-1 at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

It was the manner of the performances in both games that impressed the AP panel, as the statistics suggest Bayern has finally embraced Guardiola’s fluent passing tactics.

“The Bavarian side averaged just over 67 percent of possession over the two games,” said James Thorogood, editor of Bundesliga.com. “They had 48 shots on goal and completed 1,165 of 1,307 passes, proving once and for all that they have well and truly found their groove under Guardiola.”

Axel Torres, of Marca Radio in Spain, agreed, suggesting that Bayern’s display against City was “maybe the best performance of the season.”

Attacking midfielder Franck Ribery, who scored against City, is ninth in the player rankings.

Barcelona beat Celtic 1-0 away in the Champions League and Real Valladolid 4-1 at the Nou Camp to be fourth in the club vote.

Cristiano Ronaldo was merely seventh in the player poll after scoring a late winner in Real Madrid’s 3-2 win against Levante, and twice in a 4-0 defeat of FC Copenhagen.

Madrid was ninth in the team list, a point behind West Ham, which stunned Tottenham 3-0.

“The best team performance of the weekend came from West Ham, who held steady and scored three on the counter away to Tottenham Hotspur,” said Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report in the United States. “Winning at White Hart Lane is quite the feat given the current squad at Andre Villas-Boas’ disposal, and Sam Allardyce is rightly being lauded in the aftermath.”

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AP Global Football rankings to Oct. 8

Players:

1. Francesco Totti, 136 points.

2. Diego Costa, 85.

3. Adnan Januzaj, 81.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 68.

5. Neymar, 53.

6. Alexis Sanchez, 48.

7. Cristiano Ronaldo, 45.

8. Pierre-Michel Lasogga, 43.

9. Franck Ribery, 40.

10. Mesut Ozil, 36.

Teams:

1. Roma, 124.

2. Atletico Madrid, 120.

3. Bayern Munich, 118.

4. Barcelona, 103.

5. Paris Saint-Germain, 97.

6. Chelsea, 60.

7. Arsenal, 50.

8. West Ham, 39.

9. Real Madrid, 38.

10. Juventus, 32.

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