AP Global Football 10-Quotebox


LONDON (AP) -James Porteous, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong.

"Anything you can do ... just hours after (Cristiano) Ronaldo scored his 19th hat trick for Real Madrid, (Lionel) Messi scored four against Osasuna as the world's two best players continued their remarkable scoring form. They top my player picks, while my top 10 teams are dominated by lower league sides after a week of cup upsets in Britain. Bradford kicked it off by reaching the League Cup final, while Luton, Oldham and Leeds were among those teams taking down Premier League opposition in the FA Cup. In fact, there were so many upsets I've rather harshly had to leave out MK Dons and Millwall. As for the rest of the players, (Edinson) Cavani keeps firing in Serie A, (Olivier) Giroud has four goals in his last two games for Arsenal, Mauro Icardi four in one game alone against Pescara, and giantkilling goalscorers Matt Smith and Scott Rendell get a shout-out."

Tom Timmermann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, United States.

"I've got surprisingly little movement in my ballot considering a bunch of teams at the bottom lost. With almost everyone down there losing or, in the case of Paris Saint-Germain avoiding a draw thanks to an own-goal. So while the result for PSG was good, the play wasn't, so I dropped them in favor of Napoli. Chelsea has to pay a price for drawing with Brentford, but my inclination to drop them was rebuffed by the lack of suitable substitutes to put in. In an ordinary week, Juventus would have fallen farther than it did for drawing with Genoa at home. Is Cristiano Ronaldo the unluckiest guy around? He records a hat trick but can only get second on my ballot because Messi has a four-goal game and scores another in his other game last week. You start to think if Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals, Messi would score five, always managing to go his rival one better. A couple shoutouts this week to lower, lower English players for goals in big FA Cup upsets. Matt Smith's two goals vs. Liverpool deserves attention. This may well be the high point of Smith's career, and I salute it."

Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, United States.

"Ronaldo is giving Messi a run for his euros. In 10 minutes, he scored more goals than most teams score in 90. Mauro Icardi scored four goals for Sampdoria and could have had five if Delio Rossi had let him take the penalty kick. Why don't coaches understand when there is history afoot?"

Leonardo Bertozzi, ESPN Brazil.

"Mauro Icardi of Sampdoria, a product of Barcelona's youth squads, the youngster from Rosario scored four times against Pescara and showed why Cesare Prandelli hopes to see him turn his back to his native country and represent the Italian national team. Messi: another historic mark for `La Pulga,' scoring in 11 consecutive rounds in the Spanish league. And he did it in style, with four of his team's five goals against Osasuna, making him the youngest player to surpass the 200-goal mark in the league."

Julian Bennetts, Hayters news agency, England.

"It was a superb weekend in the FA Cup, with shocks galore. The highlight was Oldham's victory over Liverpool, a result which few observers saw coming. St Mirren also deserve credit for knocking out Celtic in the Scottish Cup, while Leeds did for Tottenham in England. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund all had impressive victories, while Sampdoria and Napoli also impressed. Anything you can do I can do better. That was the message from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo as the Barcelona man scored four times after his Real Madrid rival got a hat trick in their respective matches on Sunday. Mauro Icardi also scored four, for Sampdoria, while FA Cup braces from Matt Smith and Olivier Giroud mean they deserve their place on the list - while there were also impressive performances in Germany from Mario Mandzukic and Jacob Blaszczykowski."

Christian Schaetzle, der fussballblogger.de, Germany.

"This week the world's two best footballers outdid themselves. First, Cristiano Ronaldo scores a hat trick in Real Madrid's 4-0 win at home over Getafe. Then Lionel Messi surpassed his eternal rival with four goals against Osasuna in the evening. Mauro Icardi's four goals shouldn't go unmentioned, either. However, the Sampdoria player `only' scored them in a one-sided Serie A game against relegation-threatened Pescara. So his performance isn't quite as impressive as Messi's or Ronaldo's. Barcelona and Bayern Munich march on in their respective leagues. Barcelona already have a 15-point advantage over archrival Real Madrid in La Liga. Bayern are 12 points ahead of Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Both the Spanish and German champions have been decided already."

Cedric Rouquette, Eurosport, France.

"2013 has started just like 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012: with competition at the summit of global football between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Messi holding the upper hand after four goals the day after CR7's hat trick. Thrill of the week, however, were Mauro Icardi's four goals. Even if the goals he scored were not the most technical or inventive, a striker needs real talent to be in the right place at the right time. Barcelona are undoubted No. 1 for its capacity to crush the Spanish championship like a steamroller."

Will Tidey, Bleacher Report, United States.

"Lionel Messi has 33 goals from 21 games in La Liga this season. As was pointed out on Sunday, that's more than all-but three of the clubs he plays against have scored in total. Cristiano Ronaldo. His fate was ever written so. Ronaldo scores three, Messi scores four. Comparisons rain down. Ronaldo comes second. Mauro Icardi. Could Barcelona come to regret the day they let 19-year-old Mauro Icardi leave? The Argentine striker scored four times as Sampdoria annihilated Pescara 6-0."

Orfeo Suarez, El Mundo, Spain.

"Revolution week in England, in Capital One Cup and FA Cup, with several non-high class clubs on top, such as Bradford or Luton Town. Messi scored four goals against Osasuna and his records are improving week by week. No one knows what his limits are. Cristiano is in the best form, just before the `clasico' against Barcelona in Spanish Cup, the best match you can see in football nowadays."

Mike McGrath, Wardles news agency/The Sun, England.

"By scoring the perfect hat-trick - left foot, right foot and a header - Cristiano Ronaldo would ordinarily be at the top of the poll but once again Lionel Messi eclipses him with his performance and passing the milestone of 200 La Liga goals."

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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