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Bale, Arsenal top soccer rankings

Bale, Arsenal top soccer rankings

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Published : 2013-12-04 19:14
Updated : 2013-12-04 19:14

LONDON (AP) ― Gareth Bale took first place in the Associated Press global soccer poll Tuesday after scoring his first hat trick for Real Madrid.

The Spanish power beat Valladolid 4-0 and was second in the team vote, seven points behind Premier League leader Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey scored twice in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Cardiff and was second in the player vote with 114 points. He was 49 behind Bale.

Bale particularly impressed the panel of 20 global soccer writers, given that Madrid was without Cristiano Ronaldo, who has an injured left hamstring.

“Wales’ two poster-boys, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, both shone on yet another scintillating weekend,” Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report in the United States said.

Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich were third in the player and team rankings. Munich beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 to remain at the top of the Bundesliga, with Robben scoring both goals.

Munich has yet to lose in the league this season, winning 12 and drawing two of its 14 games and is four points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen. Pep Guardiola’s team also beat CSKA Moscow 3-1 on the road as it continued its defense of the Champions League title.

“It’s almost as if form doesn’t matter. Bayern Munich will win,” Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. “There may be teams that are prettier, but there are no teams that are more effective and more dependable. All they do is win.”

Athletic Bilbao was fourth after beating Barcelona 1-0 at home in the most surprising result of the weekend. Iker Muniain scored in the 70th minute at San Mames Stadium, leaving Barcelona defeated for the first time in La Liga this season. Muniain was ninth in the player poll.

“Who wins at the new San Mames? Even Barcelona did not beat Athletic Bilbao there,” Leonardo Bertozzi of ESPN Brazil said.

It was the second defeat of the week for Barcelona, which also lost 2-1 to Ajax in the Champions League midweek. Ajax went on to beat ADO 4-0 at home in the Dutch league and was sixth in the club vote.

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