Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo beat Barcelona and Lionel Messi to top AP football poll

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Juventus's Carlos Tevez celebrates after scoring during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick in Real Madrid's 8-2 thrashing of Deportivo La Coruna helped the pair hold off Lionel Messi and Barcelona to take leading player and team of the week honors in the AP global football poll on Tuesday.

Barcelona's 5-0 rout away to Levante, where Messi scored once but missed a penalty, meant the pair ranked second in the respective votes. Neymar also found the net in the triumph and is ninth.

Both sides also enjoyed success in their Champions League openers. Barcelona won 1-0 against Apoel Nicosia, and Real thrashed Basel 5-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Ronaldo scored one alongside Gareth Bale, who polled seventh this week.

Real's two high-scoring victories stood out to the panel of global football writers, particularly Marco Monteverde of News Corp. Australia.

"After a poor start to the season, Real Madrid responded to the pressure with big wins in the Champions League and La Liga, scoring 13 goals in two matches," Monteverde said.

Juventus was third after its 1-0 win against AC Milan at the San Siro extended its winning start in Serie A to three games, and Carlos Tevez, who scored the winner, was also third in the player poll.

Like Madrid and Barcelona, Juventus also won its first Champions League match 2-0 at home to Malmo, and Tevez scored both.

"Carlos Tevez has had a magnificent start of the season," Aurelio Capaldi of RAI Sport in Italy said. "He played a fantastic one-two with Paul Pogba, scored the winner against AC Milan, and allowed Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri to make a winning return to the San Siro."

Leicester was a surprise entry in fourth this week after coming from 3-1 down to stun Manchester United 5-3 on Sunday. Their attack was spearheaded by Jamie Vardy, who put Leicester 4-3 ahead from a composed finish to a one-on-one with David De Gea. Vardy polled fifth.

"Three years ago this week, Vardy was sent off playing for non-league Fleetwood Town," Julian Bennetts of Hayters news agency in London said. "Now he is tearing Manchester United apart, winning two penalties, and scoring his first Premier League goal."

Roma is fifth, with its attacker Gervinho in fourth, after returning to the Champions League with a 5-1 dismantling of CSKA Moscow, where the Ivory Coast international scored twice. It followed that victory with a 2-0 win at home to Cagliari and, like Juventus, Roma has won all three of its opening Serie A matches.

German side Paderborn, the surprise pacesetter in the Bundesliga, is sixth after beating Hannover 2-0. Moritz Stoppelkamp is sixth in the player vote as he scored Paderborn's second from a record-setting 83 meters. Bayern Munich is a place behind Paderborn after beating English champion Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League.

Elsewhere, Frank Lampard is eighth after coming off the substitute bench to save a point for Manchester City with a late strike against former side Chelsea in a 1-1 draw.

Marseille is eighth after winning 3-0 against Rennes, and its striker Andre-Pierre Gignac is 10th after scoring twice.

Arsenal is ninth for recovering from a 2-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

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