Comments from panelists voting in the AP Global Soccer 10 poll for the week ending Nov. 25:
Christian Schaetzle, derfussballblogger.de, Germany:
Mario Goetze is currently in superb form. He was the outstanding player in both Dortmund's Champions League win in Amsterdam and in his side's important away win at Mainz in the Bundesliga, involved in nearly all the goals. Besides Jordi Gomez of Wigan Athletic, who scored three goals in the 3-2 win over Reading, you still have to mention Lionel Messi, who again this week produced outstanding performances and scored at will in both the Champions League and La Liga.
While Barcelona secured its first place in both in the Champions League and La Liga, there's a team in Europe nobody expected anything from before this Champions League season. Borussia Dortmund won Group D, the Group of Death (opponents Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax), with its phenomenal 4-1 win at Ajax to reach the Round of 16. Dortmund produced great displays in each game, always at least as strong but mostly even better than its opponents.
Will Tidey, Bleacher Report, United States:
Two clinical finishes from Messi got Barca rolling to a 4-0 win against Levante and followed his Champions League double against Spartak. Gerd Muller's record is just three goals away. Two goals and two assists for the irrepressible Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as PSG went top of Ligue 1.
Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, United States:
Mexes' goal - a prettier goal in many ways than the bicycle kick from Ibrahimovic. That first touch with the chest to settle the ball, then beating the keeper to the far side with the bicycle volley was an extraordinary series.
Paulo Condo, Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy:
Dominant Barcelona deserves best honors of the week. Bayern is cruising toward the domestic title and Champions League qualification, Milan had some kind of resurrection in securing its place in the Champions League round of 16 and beating Juventus in the championship. Other awards to Vitesse Arnhem, able to win at PSV, and Hiroshima Sanfrecce for their first J-League title.
Aurelio Capaldi, Rai Sport, Italy:
Andres Iniesta was a key factor in Barcelona's victory (12th in 13 matches) at Levante's Ciutat de Valencia stadium. He made things easy for Barca as he twice set up Lionel Messi, scored a goal and allowed Cesc Fabregas to kill the game. Iniesta's performance was masterful and if Leo Messi gets closer to Gerd Muller's record, he must thank his friend Andres.
James Porteous, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong:
It's getting predictable, but I think Messi has to take top spot again, with four goals in two games this week to close to within three of Gerd Muller's calendar year record of 85. Teammate Andres Iniesta ran him close though, with two fine performances himself, and Ibrahimovic showed what a difference he makes to PSG by returning to the team to score two and create two more. Betis deserve recognition for beating Real Madrid just a week after they were thrashed in the Seville derby, Atletico keep winning at home, and Dortmund and Bayern continue to impress in Germany and the Champions League. Hat tips to Palermo for winning the Sicilian derby, Milan for following up Champions League qualification with a win over Juventus, and Sanfrecce Hiroshima for becoming J.League champions for the first time. After a dreary week for English Premier League teams at home and abroad, I don't have any picks from there for the first time.
Francois Colin, De Standaard, Belgium:
Mexes: His goal was more beautiful than that of Ibrahimovic, because he controlled the ball first with the chest and there was a goalkeeper between the posts. Most of all this was in a game that mattered.
Tom Timmermann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United States:
Barca showed they can do it both in Europe and in La Liga, and most emphatically so. I'm giving up on Chelsea for the foreseeable future, and finally accepting West Bromwich Albion, which had to win me over. They finally have. I was all set to put Man City into my top 10, especially since they're ahead of West Brom, but I can't do it in a week they get knocked out of the Champions League. I probably haven't given French teams their due, so this will give me a chance to reward PSG.
Julian Bennetts, Hayters news agency, England:
Felipe Melo joined a select list this week as he saved a penalty - despite being an outfield player. The Brazilian midfielder's moment of magic came in the last minute of Galatasaray's 1-0 win at Elazigspor, and came after a 1-0 victory against Manchester United helped the Turkish giants' hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages. Andres Iniesta proved once again he is one of the best in the world with three assists and a goal against Levante, a game in which Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi got another double. Dortmund duo Lewandowski and Goetze got seven goals between them this week, while Willian got four in two games for Shakhtar Donetsk.