LONDON (AP) – Lionel Messi is the best footballer in the world and his team Barcelona the top-rated club, according to the inaugural AP Global Soccer 10 football rankings released Tuesday by The Associated Press.
A global panel of football writers chose Messi as the clear leader in a top 10 list of players for his performance in the week ending Oct. 29.
The Argentina forward has been scoring almost at will for Barcelona in the Spanish league and Champions League, and he added two more in Saturday's 5-0 victory at Rayo Vallecano.
''Shame on Messi,'' said Filip Bondy, a panelist who writes for the New York Daily News. ''He scored only twice. At this rate, he'll only be the best player in the world ... forever.''
Messi received 140 points out of a possible 180, 29 points clear of Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo with 111. Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao was third with 79 points.
The top three all play in Spain. Manchester United striker Robin van Persie was fourth, followed by Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The panel of 18 international football writers chose Barcelona as the team of the week, 21 points ahead of Spanish rival Atletico Madrid. Manchester United was in third place after beating Chelsea 3-2 on Sunday in the Premier League.
Each panelist selects 10 teams and players, with 10 points for first place and one for 10th. The weekly survey includes journalists from Europe, South America, North America and Asia.
All 10 teams are from Europe and the top 10 players all play for European clubs. Three Bundesliga teams were in the top 10 - Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund - but league leader Bayern Munich failed to make it after losing its first league game of the season against Leverkusen.
''It was an unforgettable week for Borussia Dortmund after a thrilling victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League with Mario Gotze showing his talent at the highest level and capable of scoring in a Bundesliga 2-0 away win at Freiburg,'' said Aurelio Capaldi, who works for Rai in Italy.
Gotze crept into 10th place in the poll, in which all are strikers or attacking midfielders.
Although the top 10 players were all based in Europe, James Porteous of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post gave an honorable mention to China striker Gao Lin. The Guangzhou Evergrande forward scored a last-minute strike to help his team defend its Chinese league title - and give veteran coach Marcello Lippi his first club championship outside Italy.
AP Global Soccer 10 (for week ending Oct. 29.)
1. Lionel Messi, 140 points.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 111.
3. Radamel Falcao, 79.
4. Robin van Persie, 73.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 61.
6. Gonzalo Higuain, 50.
7. Juan Mata, 41.
8. Javi Hernandez, 28.
9. Cesc Fabregas, 27.
10. Mario Gotze, 26.
1. Barcelona, 130 points.
2. Atletico Madrid, 109.
3. Manchester United, 105.
4. Borussia Dortmund, 81.
5. Real Madrid, 64.
6. Schalke, 59.
7. Juventus, 53.
8. Bayer Leverkusen, 49.
9. Shakhtar Donetsk, 37.
10. Ajax, 35.
AP Global Soccer 10 Panelists
Cedric Rouquette, Europsport, France
James Porteous, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
Gregor Derichs, dapd, Germany
Francois Colin, De Standaard, Belgium
Willem Vissers, Volkskraant, Netherlands
Christian Schatze, Der FussballBlogger.de, Germany
Jose Antonio Cortes, Record, Mexico
Will Tidey, Bleacher Report, United States
Federico Giammaria, LaVoz, Argentina
Jerome Touboul, L'Equipe, France
Mike McGrath, Wardles News Agency/The Sun, England
Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, United States
Julian Bennetts, Hayters News Agency, England
Aurelio Capaldi, Rai, Italy
Orfeo Suarez, El Mundo, Spain
Paulo Vinicius Coelho, Estado de S.Paulo. Brazil
Tom Timmermann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
John Duerden, kickoffasia.com, South Korea