Lionel Messi replaces Luis Suarez atop AP Global Football 10
LONDON (AP) — Lionel Messi’s record 24th Spanish league hat trick put him at the top of the Associated Press Global Football 10 on Tuesday.
Messi scored in Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Rayo Vallecano. Teammate Luis Suarez, who was top of last week’s vote, also scored two in the emphatic win but dropped to second in this week’s poll.
Luis Enrique’s side also moved to the top of the league, as Real Madrid lost 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao.
“Another week and another record - this time most hat tricks for a Spanish club - for Lionel Messi,” Mike McGrath of The Sun in England said. “And Barcelona are back at the top of the table, so it no surprise they dominate the poll.”
It’s the eighth winning poll this season for Messi, and fifth time he and Barcelona have been on top together.
Bayern Munich striker Thomas Mueller was third after also scoring twice in a 3-1 win at Hannover. Mueller’s strikes allowed Pep Guardiola’s team to extending its Bundesliga lead to 11 points with Wolfsburg losing 1-0 to Augsberg.
Two more goals by Harry Kane in Tottenham’s 2-1 Premier League victory against Queens Park Rangers lifted him to fourth.
Aritz Aduriz was next after his first-half header for Bilbao was the difference at home against Real Madrid.
Miroslav Klose, Michy Batshuayi, Danny Welbeck, Son Hueng-min and Nabil Fekir completed the top 10.
In the team poll, Barcelona took first place ahead of Bayern for wins over Vallecano, and Villarreal in the Copa del Rey.
“The Catalan giants are hitting form at the right end of the season, scoring nine goals in cup and league matches in what was a super week for the Messi-inspired team,” Marco Monteverde of News Corp. Australia said.
Bilbao entered the poll in third after its victory over Madrid followed the Copa del Rey 2-0 semifinal triumph against Espanyol.
“Athletic Bilbao beat an off-color Real Madrid in the Spanish league, and will soon face Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey,” Tito Puccetti of ESPN in Argentina said.
Arsenal was fourth after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup quarterfinals at Old Trafford on Monday, its winning goal coming from former United striker Welbeck.
Marseille was a place behind, after routing Toulouse 6-1 away in the French league on Friday.
The top 10 was rounded out by Ligue 1 leader Lyon, Lazio, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Tottenham.
AP Global Football 10:
1. Lionel Messi, 139 points.
2. Luis Suarez, 101.
3. Thomas Mueller, 76.
4. Harry Kane, 60.
5. Aritz Aduriz, 57.
6. Miroslav Klose, 54.
7. Michy Batshuayi, 51.
8. Danny Welbeck, 44.
9. Son Hueng-min, 40.
10. Nabil Fekir, 33.
1. Barcelona, 145 points.
2. Bayern Munich, 97.
3. Athletic Bilbao, 94.
4. Arsenal, 80.
5. Marseille, 62
6. Lyon, 54.
7. Lazio, 39.
8. Paris Saint-Germain, 38.
9. Chelsea, 31.
10. Tottenham, 23.