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Bayern tops AP rankings; Messi drops out of top 10
LONDON (AP) - Bayern Munich was voted the top team by the AP's panel of global soccer journalists for the week the German team won the Bundesliga in record time.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi dropped from the top 10 players on Tuesday, falling to 11th place. Messi was injured in Barcelona's Champion's League game against PSG last week, although he had already scored before he injured his hamstring.
Another Barcelona player, Cesc Fabregas, was voted top player of the week. He replaced Messi and scored a hat trick against Real Mallorca in La Liga last weekend. Fabregas drew 154 points of a possible 180 from the panel of 18 voters.
"No Messi, no problem," Will Tidey of the San Francisco-based Bleacher Report said. "Fabregas helped himself to a hat trick as Barcelona thumped Mallorca 5-0."
Fabregas beat out Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Schweinsteiger received 112 votes and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo shared third at 63 points with Atalanta's German Denis, who scored a hat trick in the 4-3 victory over Inter Milan.
Schweinsteiger scored in Bayern's 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday that clinched the Bundesliga title with six rounds left. That came after Bayern beat Juventus 2-0 at home in a convincing display in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.
Panelist James Thorogood of Bundesliga.com said that after missing the penalty kick that lost Bayern Munich the Champions League final at home, "it seemed fitting that Bastian Schweinsteiger should score the goal that won" the title.
"The midfield maestro was at his imperious best," he said.
Barcelona's struggling forward Alexis Sanchez was in fifth place with 56 points, one ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic was seventh with 48 points. The Montenegro international dropped his shorts to celebrate after scoring for Juventus against Pescara.
In the team vote, Bayern won 175 of a possible 180 points, with Real Madrid 20 points behind and Barcelona in third position. PSG, which fought back for a draw against Barca in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, was fourth with 72 points and Chelsea was fifth after three victories in a week.
"Bayern have to be the team of the week, wrapping up the Bundesliga title in record time, and taking a big step towards the Champions League semifinals with their win over Juventus," said James Porteous of the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.
"With an exciting young squad, piles of cash building up in the coffers of perhaps the best-run major club in the world and a revitalized Pep Guardiola on his way next season, the next few years of European football could be all about Munich."
AP Global Football Rankings for the week ending April 8.
Based on 18 voters, using 10 points for first, nine for second, etc. Previous rankings in parentheses.
1. Bayern Munich, (1), 175 points.
2. Real Madrid, (8), 155.
3. Barcelona, (5), 138.
4. Paris Saint-Germain, (3), 72.
5. Chelsea, 58.
6. Juventus, (2), 53.
7. Borussia Dortmund, (10), 47.
8. Benfica, (7), 33.
9. Napoli, (3), 30.
10. Manchester City, 4, 28.
1. Cesc Fabregas, 154 points.
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 112.
3. (tie) Cristiano Ronaldo, (7) 63.
3. (tie) German Denis, 63.
5. Alexis Sanchez, 56.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 55.
7. Mirko Vucinic, 48.
8. Tomas Rosicky, 45.
9. Gonzalo Higuain, 44.
10. Mesut Oezil, 42.
11. Lionel Messi, (2), 29.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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