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Madrid 1st in AP soccer poll, Robben top player

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LONDON (AP) — Real Madrid's 6-1 thrashing of Schalke followed by its 2-2 draw with La Liga title rival Atletico Madrid sent it to the top of this week's Associated Press global soccer poll.

Madrid edged Bayern Munich by three points to take team of the week honors for the second time this season.

It was even closer in the player poll, where Munich's Arjen Robben beat Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo by two votes.

Robben scored a hat trick in Bayern's 5-1 Bundesliga victory, also against Schalke, and runner-up Ronaldo managed a brace against Schalke in the Champions League.

"Bayern Munich have gone unbeaten for an incredible 48 Bundesliga games and don't just beat opponents: They hammer them," Richard Jolly of ESPN said.

Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sympathized with Schalke's tough week.

"What in the name of soccer did Schalke 04 have to do to get a schedule where it played Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in a span of four days? That's inhumane," Timmermann said. "And Schalke's in fourth place in the Bundesliga."

Manchester City was third in the team vote after coming from behind to win the League Cup final against Sunderland 3-1.

Yaya Toure, who levelled for City in the second half at Wembley with a curling long-range strike, was sixth in the poll, tied with Carlos Tevez.

Tevez led fourth-place Juventus to a 2-0 away win over AC Milan.

"It was impressive the way Carlos Tevez played this game: He was everywhere, showing a real fighting spirit, working hard for the team and scoring an amazing goal," panellist Aurelio Capldi of RAI Sport in Italy said. "He is now the Serie A top scorer."

Chelsea was fifth after its 4-1 victory against Fulham saw it move four points ahead at the top of the Premier League, after Arsenal lost to Stoke 1-0.

Germany attacker Andre Schurrle scored a second-half hat trick for Chelsea and enters the poll for the first time this season in third position.

Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund was fourth, and Luis Suarez fifth after scoring on his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool as it won 3-0 away at Southampton to rise to second in the league.

"The Uruguayan international striker creates, performs and leads his team higher and higher," Manos Staramopoulos of Eleftheros Typos in Greece said.

After Tevez and Toure, the rest of the top 10 were Lionel Messi, Aritz Aduriz of Athletic Bilbao, and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid.


AP Global Soccer 10 rankings, week ending March 4:


1. Real Madrid, 131.

2. Bayern Munich, 128.

3. Manchester City, 107.

4. Juventus, 89.

5. Chelsea, 83.

6. Liverpool, 70.

7. Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, 70 (tied).

9. Barcelona, 54.

10. Atletico Madrid, 37


1. Arjen Robben, 119.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 117.

3. Andre Schurrle, 108.

4. Robert Lewandowski, 81.

5. Luis Suarez, 80.

6. Carlos Tevez, 61

(tie) Yaya Toure, 61

8. Lionel Messi, 39.

9. Aritz Aduriz, 38.

10. Karim Benzema, 30.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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