Juventus, Domenico Berardi top AP football poll
LONDON (AP) — Domenico Berardi is first in the Associated Press global football poll this week after scoring all of Sassuolo’s goals in a 4-3 win against underachieving AC Milan.
The 19-year-old Berardi is on loan from Juventus, which tops the team poll for a second straight week and the third time this season. Sassuolo enters the poll for the first time in seventh place.
“Scoring four times against Milan, giving the very tiny Sassuolo a historic win, is worthy of the player of the week title for Berardi,” Ubiratan Leal of trivela.com in Brazil said. “His team is still a hot favorite for relegation, but the tifosi in Sassuolo will for decades tell the kids about the day a teenager destroyed Milan.”
Juventus came from behind to beat Cagliari 4-1 away and it remains eight points clear at the top of Serie A. Spain striker Fernando Llorente scored twice and is fourth this week with 59 votes.
“A record 11 wins in a row sounds impressive but it’s even more so when you tot up the figures,” Mark Rodden of Eurosport said. “Juventus has scored 30 goals and conceded just two during that run.”
Luis Suarez has dropped to second in the player vote, despite scoring twice in Liverpool’s 5-3 away victory against Stoke, a win which ranks them third in the team poll.
Manchester City is second after thrashing West Ham 6-0 in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals in midweek before winning 2-0 at Newcastle. Edin Dzeko is 10th in the player poll after scoring three goals over the two games while Alvaro Negredo is seventh, having followed up a hat-trick against West Ham by scoring the second against Newcastle.
“The Spanish striker has surpassed all expectations with Manchester City,” Leonardo Bertozzi of ESPN Brazil said. “He must be a rival to Diego Costa for the starting place as striker in the Spain national team.”
Arda Turan is sixth after an impressive performance against Barcelona as his Atletico Madrid side drew 0-0 with the team they are tied on points with atop of La Liga.
“I was in Vicente Calderon to admire the chess match between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona,” Paolo Condo of Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy said. “I was sure to vote .... Arda Turan as best player. But Sassuolo-Milan was the first big shot of the terrific young gun, (Domenico) Berardi.”
Elsewhere, Adam Johnson of Sunderland is third after scoring a hat-trick in his team’s 4-1 away win over fellow relegation candidate Fulham.
Eden Hazard is fifth after leading the way with a tremendous performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Hull to maintain its challenge for the Premier League title.
The result sees Jose Mourinho’s side ranked fifth on 63 points in the team poll, one behind his former club Real Madrid, which closed the gap on Atletico and Barcelona in La Liga to three points with a 1-0 win against Espanyol.
AP Global Football 10 rankings, week ending Jan. 14
1. Domenico Berardi, 127 points.
2. Luis Suarez, 110.
3. Adam Johnson, 71.
4. Fernando Llorente, 59.
5. Eden Hazard, 54.
6. Arda Turan, 53.
7. Alvaro Negredo, 41.
8. Giovani dos Santos, 39.
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 30.
10. Edin Dzeko, 28.
1. Juventus, 126.
2. Manchester City, 102.
3. Liverpool, 67.
4. Real Madrid, 64.
5. Chelsea, 63.
6. Benfica, 59.
7. Sassuolo, 55.
8. Athletic Bilbao, 51.
9. Roma, 49.
10. Arsenal, 46.