Posted December 18, 2012 on AP on Fox
Lionel Messi brushed aside all challengers in the AP Global Soccer rankings this week, although his Barcelona team came close to being topped by new world club champion Corinthians. Messi, with two more goals to his name in La Liga at the weekend for a staggering 90 on the year, received 169 points out of a possible 190 from AP's panel of 19 global football journalists. Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio played a key role in the 1-0 defeat of Chelsea in the Club World Cup final in Japan on Sunday and earned 72 points, two more than Manchester United's Dutch striker Robin van Persie. ''Messi gets two more in the best match in La Liga,'' panelist Orfeo Suarez of Spain's El Mundo newspaper said. ''And Barcelona has 13 points more than Real Madrid.'' After being knocked off the top of the rankings last week by Manchester United, Barcelona was bcck in first place this week, but by just one point over Corinthians. ''The victory over Chelsea in the final of the Club World Cup returned the trophy to South America after six years,'' panelist Leonardo Bertozzi of ESPN Brazil said, ''rewarding the brilliant work of coach Tite who did it without any world-class players.'' Barcelona won 161 points out of 190, Corinthians scored 160, and United was some way back in third place on 103, just ahead of Juventus, which stayed in fourth place. Paris Saint-Germain notched its highest ranking since they began in October, winning 75 points to finish fifth after the impressive 1-0 victory over Lyon that took the Parisian side to the top of Ligue 1. Manchester City came in sixth, ahead of Lazio and AC Milan, giving Italy three teams in the top 10. Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put Cassio in the top spot. ''Players who do good things in very important games should get a little extra credit, which is why Cassio's play in the Club World Cup gets top billing this week, ahead of standby Messi, who usually is in the top spot,'' Timmerman said. ''Corinthians are the first non-European club I've put on my ballot. I feel a little awkward putting the club that's sixth in the Brazilian standings in my top 10, but they beat Chelsea, which counts for something. Paris Saint-Germain jumping over Lyon made the decision easy at the bottom of the top 10.'' Cassio had to share the individual support for Corinthians' cup victory with Paolo Guerrero, the scorer of the only goal of the game in Yokohama who was fourth with 69 points. Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao also scored, but was on the wrong end of a 4-1 thrashing by Messi and Barcelona. He received 59 votes to finish fifth, down from last week's second place. ''Atletico Madrid presented the latest challenge to Barca,'' Bleacher Report's Will Tidey said. ''Tito Vilanova's team swept it aside.'' Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling has been gradually drawing attention to himself, and his two goals against Hamburg in the Bundesliga lifted him to sixth place, just ahead of fellow German Miroslav Klose of Lazio. ''Stefan Kiessling is gathering attention in Germany,'' said Christian Schatzle of ''He played a strong opening half to the season for Bayer Leverkusen and was the outstanding man with two goals and an assist in the 3-0 win over Hamburger SV.'' One of Europe's classiest players, Andrea Pirlo of Juventus, was eighth with 40 points. AP Global Soccer 10 Rankings for week ending Dec. 17 . (Previous week's ranking in parentheses) Players: 1. Lionel Messi (1), 169 points. 2. Cassio, 72. 3. Robin van Persie (7), 70. 4. Paolo Guerrero, 69. 5. Radamel Falcao (2), 59. 6. Stefan Kiessling, 49. 7. Miroslav Klose, 44. 8. Andrea Pirlo, 40. 9. Adel Taarabt, 35 10. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 26 (tie) Yaya Toure, 26 Teams: 1. Barcelona (2), 161 points. 2. Corinthians, 160. 3. Manchester United (1), 103. 4. Juventus (4), 100. 5. Paris Saint-Germain (8), 75. 6. Manchester City, 49. 7. Lazio, 40. 8. AC Milan, 28. 9. Bayern Munich (3), 23 (tie) Borussia Dortmund, 23. Based on 19 voters, using 10 points for top to 1 point for bottom place

Lionel Messi Hugs Soccer Fan Who Ran Onto Field, Prosecutor May not Understand Why (Video)

Lionel Messi is so good some people are willing to risk life, limb and a clean criminal record just to touch him. This was the case Sunday, when a fan ran onto the field and hugged the soccer superstar during a league game between Spain’s top two teams. Messi scored twice in Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid. The goals were the 89th and 90th of Messi’s record-breaking...

Messi extends contract with Barcelona through 2018

Lionel Messi agreed to a new contract with Barcelona on Tuesday that will keep him with the Spanish powerhouse through 2018. The 25-year-old Messi, a three-time world player of the year, has 90 goals so far in 2012, surpassing Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record of 85 in a calendar year. Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol also agreed to new deals with the team. Messi, whose contract...

Fan Rushes the Field and Hugs Messi. Cool or Creepy?

(Getty) Barca football player Lionel Messi scored twice Sunday night vs. Atletico Madrid, extending his world record to 90 goals just this year. But Messi scoring isn’t exactly news. What caught everyone’s attention after the game was the image of a pitch invader who ran onto the field and hugged Messi! Luckily, Messi hugged him back. [...]

Can Anyone Stop Messi From Reclaiming The Ballon D’or?

The 2012 FIFA Ballon D’or will be awarded early next year, and of the 20 candidates up for this year’s prize, one name stands out. Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi is the outstanding candidate for the coveted prize and with good reason. Throughout 2012, he has scored a massive 82 goals in all competitions, just six away from breaking the record set by legendary Germany...

Messi agrees to new contract with Barcelona to '18

Lionel Messi agreed on a new contract with Barcelona on Tuesday through 2018. Messi, the three-time world player of the year, has 90 goals in 2012, surpassing Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old milestone of 85 in a calendar year. Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol also agreed to new deals with the Spanish giant. Messi, whose contract was due to expire on June 30, 2016, extended his commitment...

Messi agrees new deal with Barcelona until 2018

Messi agrees new deal with Barcelona until 2018 - originally posted on Barcelona have announced that star player Lionel Messi has agreed to extend his contract to 2018. It virtually stamps out the chance of any financially backed club coming in and trying to get the Argentinean to leave the Spanish giants where he has made his name in the sport. The deal means Messi...

Messi agrees long-term Barca contract

Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract to keep him at Barcelona until 2018. The Catalan giants confirmed on their official website the Argentinian would pen the deal "in the coming weeks". Barca also revealed Xavi and Carles Puyol had agreed extensions until 2016. Messi's current deal runs until June 2016 and the new agreement will keep him at the Nou Camp beyond...

Messi Agrees New Barcelona Contract

Argentina star Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract to keep him at Barcelona until 2018, keeping him at Camp Nou beyond his 31st birthday.

’60 Minutes Sports’ to Premiere on Showtime on Jan. 9, Will Spotlight Lionel Messi

Do you like 60 Minutes? Do you like sports? Well, you’re in luck, because 60 Minutes Sports is just around the corner. Beginning on Jan. 9, 2013, the new program will air on Showtime once a month. The premiere episode will be on at 10 p.m. ET and will spotlight one of the biggest stars in the world: 25-year-old soccer star Lionel Messi. Bob Simon went to Spain to talk to the Argentine...

Lionel Messi, Xavi, Carles Puyol to Extend Contracts With FC Barcelona, Preserve Nucleus for Years to Come

Barcelona has announced it has come to an agreement to renew the contracts of the club’s most important players. The backbone of the team, Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol, will keep defending the Catalan team colors for quite some time. Messi agreed to a new contract with Barcelona on Tuesday that will keep him with the Spanish powerhouse through 2018. The 25-year...

Messi the best? Not at home in Argentina

Argentine journalists don't think Lionel Messi is the country's best athlete for 2012. Argentine boxer Sergio Martinez was awarded the title of ''Olimpia de Oro,'' given to the South American country's top athlete in voting by the Circulo de Periodistas - or association of journalists. Martinez defeated Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. earlier this...

Interview with Alex Ferguson: Financial Fair Play, Messi v Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola and more

Interview with Alex Ferguson: Financial Fair Play, Messi v Ronaldo, Pep Guardiola and more - originally posted on Soccerlens.comIn an interview with Yahoo! Sport, Sir Alex Ferguson gave his views about football in England, the effects of UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations across Europe, the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and finally the capabilities of Pep Guardiola...

Feature: My Top 3 Greatest Players Of All Time

As an Arsenal fan, times haven’t been that great for me recently, which is why I’ve decided to avoid the drama of warring opinions to instead focus on other matters. Like who the greatest player ever is. I couldn’t really decide so I’ve gone ahead and picked my top 3. Enjoy. Recently, Lionel Messi went on to break a 40-year record for goals scored in a calendar year, beating...

Lionel Messi: Untouchable?

The little Argentinian recently broke Gerd Muller’s record for most goals in a calendar year with his eighty sixth strike of 2012. As it turns out however, the record may not have been Muller’s in the first place. The Zambian FA recently launched a case to demonstrate that a player by the name of Godfrey Chitalu, scored 107 goals in 1972 thereby making him the real record holder...
Soccer News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.