Messi edges Neymar by a point to lead AP global football poll, Barcelona top team

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Lionel Messi's 400th and 401st Barcelona goals helped him edge out teammate Neymar by a point to take leading player honors in The Associated Press global football poll on Tuesday.

Messi's milestone strikes came in his team's 6-0 thrashing of Granada, where Neymar scored a hat trick. That result lifted Barcelona back on top of the team vote, with English Premier League leader Chelsea in second after winning 3-0 against Aston Villa.

"The numbers which help depict Lionel Messi's career are startling; two goals scored on Saturday, five for the season, and 401 in his career. He is just 27," Chris Tait of The Herald in Scotland said.

Chelsea received praise for its fast start from Ubiratan Leal of trivela.com in Brazil. Jose Mourinho's side has five wins and a draw in the Premier League.

"It's remarkable how quickly Chelsea have put the pieces in place for this season," Leal said. "The way Diego Costa, Willian, and Oscar get along on the pitch make people think that the Brazilian team could have been much better in the World Cup with proper planning and managing."

Costa scored his eighth goal of the season in Chelsea's victory over Villa, and was fifth in the player vote.

Five goals in two games ranked Cristiano Ronaldo only third, despite spearheading a brutal Real Madrid attack. Madrid was fourth in the team vote, while Ronaldo scored four goals in a 5-1 rout of Elche, and followed with the second goal in a 2-0 win over Villarreal.

"Over its past four games, Real Madrid has outscored its opponents 20-4," Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the United States said. "I'm not sure which is the more impressive number, scoring 20 goals in four games, or outscoring opponents by 16 goals."

Juventus beat Atalanta 3-0 away for its fifth straight win, and is the third highest team. Carlos Tevez, who scored twice in for Juventus, was a position behind Ronaldo in fourth place in the player poll.

Roma was the other Italian side in the top 10, polling ninth. Like Juventus, it has five league wins from five after beating Verona 2-0 at home on Saturday, but it was second in Serie A on goal difference.

Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich was fifth, after two wins in a week against Paderborn (4-0) and Mainz (2-0).

Atletico Madrid thrashed Sevilla 4-0 to rank sixth, its midfielder Koke ninth after capping his influential performance with a goal.

Manchester City was eighth, and Edin Dzeko voted seventh in the player rankings after scoring twice in the 4-2 victory over Hull.

Elsewhere, Albin Ekdal entered the poll in sixth after a hat trick in Cagliari's shock 4-1 win over Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Marseille was seventh after following a 5-0 away win against Reims with a 2-1 victory against St. Etienne in the French league, ands Southampton was tenth, alongside its striker Graziano Pelle.

Pelle scored a bicycle kick goal in a 2-1 win against Queens Park Rangers, keeping his side second in the Premier League.


AP Global Football 10:

Players:

1. Lionel Messi, 94 points.

2. Neymar, 93.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, 69.

4. Carlos Tevez, 62.

5. Diego Costa, 56.

6. Albin Ekdal, 54.

7. Edin Dzeko, 43.

8. Mario Goetze, 38.

9. Koke, 32.

10. Graziano Pelle, 29.

Teams:

1. Barcelona, 100.

2. Chelsea, 88.

3. Juventus, 82.

4. Real Madrid, 80.

5. Bayern Munich, 66.

6. Atletico Madrid, 58.

7. Marseille, 48.

8. Manchester City, 41.

9. Roma, 40.

10 Southampton, 25.

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