BY JACK BEZANTS
LONDON (AP) — Samuel Eto’o took first place in this week’s Associated Press global soccer poll after scoring a hat trick in Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United.
Eto’o received 190 of a possible 220 votes Tuesday from a panel of international soccer media.
“Samuel Eto’o turned back time and showed he can still be a force,” Marco Monteverde of News Corp Australia said. “The win … was a title statement that Arsenal and Manchester City must take notice of.”
Real Madrid was second in the poll after thrashing Real Betis 5-0 in La Liga, where Madrid was only a point behind co-leaders Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who could manage only draws over the weekend.
Juventus dropped from first to third in the poll but its relentless winning streak continues to impress the AP panel.
“The Italian league is becoming boring because of the incredible pace of this Juventus run,” Paolo Condo of Gazzetta dello Sport said. “Now they are 18-1-1, for the first time in history.”
Manchester City was fourth, Paris Saint-Germain fifth, and Premier League leader Arsenal sixth.
Ajax, the Eredivisie leader at ninth, appeared in the poll for only the second this season. The first was in early December.
Arturo Vidal was Eto’o’s closest challenger but 56 points behind after scoring twice and leading Juventus past Sampdoria 5-4.
Cristiano Ronaldo was third after sparking Madrid’s rout of Betis.
“After being crowned with the Golden Ball, Cristiano Ronaldo keeps scoring and putting Real Madrid closer to Barcelona and Atletico in La Liga. It will be a thrilling fight in Spain,” Alejandro Cisternas of El Mercurio in Chile said.
AP Global Soccer 10 rankings, week ending Jan. 21
1. Samuel Eto’o, 190 points.
2. Arturo Vidal, 134.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, 124.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 121.
5. Santi Cazorla, 101.
6. Paul Pogba, 62
(tie) Emmanuel Adebayor 62.
8. Keylor Navas, 51.
9. Yaya Toure, 30.
10. Yohan Cabaye, 29.
1. Chelsea, 177.
2. Real Madrid, 157.
3. Juventus, 143.
4. Manchester City, 125.
5. Paris Saint-Germain, 116.
6. Arsenal, 66.
7. Roma, 47.
8. Levante, 46.
9. Ajax, 36.
10. Tottenham, 28.