The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Bayern Munich top final AP Global Football 10 poll, Cristiano Ronaldo leading player.
LONDON - Cristiano Ronaldo is the player of the season in The Associated Press weekly football polls after a prolific year in Spain and the Champions League.
Despite failing to defend its Champions League title under Pep Guardiola, Bayern Munich is the top team in the AP Global Football 10 after receiving the most votes throughout the year. Bayern set a German league record of 53 games unbeaten in 2013-14, becoming champions with seven games to spare, and won three other trophies in Guardiola's first season.
Voter Tom Timmermann of U.S. newspaper The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, believes Bayern's Champions League campaign fell apart due to the speed of its domestic success. "They are, very likely, the best team in Europe," Timmermann said. "But once they clinched the Bundesliga title, everything seemed to go on hold.
"All of European soccer would have been well served by a much (more) competitive German league, which would have kept Bayern at the top of its game throughout the season. It may have been the difference between them getting to the Champions League final and not."
Spanish champion Atletico Madrid is runner-up, while Lionel Messi, last year's winner in the player vote, finishes this poll in second place after scoring 28 league goals in 31 games. His Barcelona side is fourth.
The votes were cast throughout the season and before Ronaldo helped Madrid win the Champions League, scoring a record 17th goal in the competition in a single season. He scored 31 in the Spanish league, the same as Liverpool's Luis Suarez in the Premier League, as Madrid finished fifth in the team poll.
Suarez is fourth for his achievement, with Liverpool eighth after its surprise second place finish in the English league.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic beat Suarez to third position by 30 points, after his 30 league goals in France spearheaded Paris Saint-Germain to a second consecutive league title. PSG's points tally of 89 was a new French league record, and the club ninth in the overall team vote.
Juventus is third, after it set an Italian league points record of 102 on its way to winning Serie A.
Gareth Bale, who enjoyed an impressive debut season with Real Madrid where he scored 22 times after his world-record transfer from Tottenham, is not the highest ranked Welsh player in the top 10.
That honour falls to Bale's international teammate Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal, who polled seventh — two places higher than the Champions League winner. Ramsey, who scored the winner in Arsenal's 3-2 victory over Hull in the FA Cup final, hit 16 goals in total.
Diego Costa, who aided Atletico Madrid's run to its first La Liga title since 1996 with 27 La Liga goals, is fifth.
Below him is Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, who scored 20 times in 33 Bundesliga appearances. Lewandowski, who will move to Bayern on a free transfer this summer, is joined in the overall top 10 by his current teammate Marco Reus, who polled 10th.
Premier League champion Manchester City is fifth, with striker Sergio Aguero ranking eighth with 17 goals in 23 games. Chelsea is 10th after reaching the semifinals of the Champions League and finishing third in the Premier League.
1. Bayern Munich, 2697 points.
2. Atletico Madrid, 2227.
3. Juventus, 2053.
4. Barcelona, 2019.
5. Real Madrid, 1684.
6. Manchester City, 1609.
7. Arsenal, 1492.
8. Liverpool, 1332.
9. Paris Saint-Germain, 1327.
10. Chelsea, 1268.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, 1449.
2. Lionel Messi, 1349.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 1176.
4. Luis Suarez, 1146.
5. Diego Costa, 1005.
6. Robert Lewandowski, 635.
7. Aaron Ramsey, 617.
8. Sergio Aguero, 582.
9. Gareth Bale, 548.
10. Marco Reus, 527.
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