AP Global Football 10 Quotebox


LONDON (AP) -Filip Bondy, New York Daily News, United States.

"The 3-1 win over Arsenal and 6-1 victory over Bremen elevate Bayern to the No. 1 spot, finally. And we probably should have had them there earlier. This isn't the flashiest team. Bayern doesn't own a top-three international star, but it is now the most consistent performer of the elite clubs. Hard to imagine why this well-oiled machine needs to shell out so much money for Guardiola. Bayern runs on its own."

Paolo Condo, Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy.

"Milan's victory over Barcelona is the most impressive result of the week, but Bayern was able to double the triumph of Emirates in Champions with a large victory over Werder in Bundesliga. Swansea deserves the podium for the Cup (and Dyer was best player). Hart answered Mancini's complaints in a brilliant way. Another goalkeeper, Handanovic, was the key man of Inter's draw in the Milan derby. And of course there's no sunset over Ryan Giggs' class."

Leonardo Bertozzi, ESPN, Brazil.

"The away victory over Arsenal in the Champions League and the 6-1 routing of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga allows us to ask whether Bayern is the best team in Europe at the moment, and the answer appears to be yes. The Rossoneri had a nearly perfect week. They beat Barcelona 2-0 in the Champions with an impeccable performance and on Sunday played better than Inter in the 1-1 draw that kept the team in contention for a spot among the top three teams in the Serie A. Despite arguing with De Guzman over the penalty kick which could have given him a hat trick, Nathan Dyer was the most valuable player in the 5-0 win over Bradford in the League Cup. In a rare appearance as a starter, the Brazilian Kaka inspired the team's comeback against Deportivo La Coruna, scoring the first goal and starting the play which led to the second, scored by Higuain."

Federico Giammaria, La Voz, Argentina.

"My vote for Messi. Yes, Lionel did not play well in Milan, but just after that in Spain he scored for the 15th consecutive time and, again, demonstrated (does he need to?) that he is beyond belief. He's always breaking some record. My vote for Stephan El Shaarawy. Milan almost had a perfect week. And Stephan El Shaarawy is the reason why. He was the key against Barcelona and also a star against Inter. It was a great week for the `Pharaoh' who promises more goals in the second chapter in Camp Nou."

Orfeo Suarez Gonzalez, El Mundo, Spain.

"Boateng and El Sharaawy played very well in a surprising victory over Barca in Champions league, the result of the week, the month and, probably, the year. Bayern had a better week with 1-3 in the Emirates and 6-1 in Bundesliga. Swansea won a title in England, with a Spanish way of playing and Michu as a player in love with the game. Kaka is coming back at Real Madrid, before the Camp Nou and Old Trafford. Special mention for Valeron."

James Thorogood, Bundesliga.com, Germany.

"Franck Ribery is without a doubt FC Bayern's most invaluable performer. Though he may not always be on the scoresheet, you can guarantee he played an integral part in putting the record titleholders in a position to create that chance. Up against Arsenal and Werder Bremen, the Frenchman provided a constant threat with his direct approach play and willingness to take on his marker, once again underlining his status as a world-class footballer. Things haven't been going well for Arjen Robben of late, but having been consigned to the bench by the sensational form of a certain Thomas Muller in recent weeks, the Dutchman put in a man of the match performance during a rare start against Bremen. Robben scored once and set up a further two in Bayern's 6-1 win. Bayern Munich may have conceded a Bundesliga goal for the first time in over 9 hours and 37 minutes, but they still top the pile in terms of team performances this week."

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

"Barcelona showed a different side to their brilliance by coming from a goal behind to win in their domestic match. But I feel AC Milan deserve to rank highly because of their win against Barca in the Champions League. Stephan El Shaarawy's assist in that came and the goal against Inter means he ranks highly for me."

Cedric Rouquette, Eurosport, France.

"This week it was demonstrated to us that Barcelona is possibly not the best team in the world. Its 2-0 defeat against Milan and modest 2-1 victory over Seville has introduced doubts about its ability to end the season as strongly as they started it, an impression strengthened by the mighty performances of Bayern Munich. Everything we thought we knew about Jepp Heynckes' Bayern was confirmed this week with unprecedented force. That's why Milan is `just' second, despite its victory over Barcelona. Two Milan players deserve a tip of the hat. Stefan El Shaarawy is the most decisive player in the team at the moment. Then there's Massimo Ambrosini, who was at the heart of MIlan's tactical victory over Barcelona."

Will Tidey, The Bleacher Report, United States.

"Stephan El Shaarawy. The little pharaoh put in a mature performance in Milan's 2-0 win against Barcelona and then added to his stock with a goal in the Milan derby on Sunday. Phillipp Lahm. Bayern Munich's flying fullback was brilliant against Arsenal and put in another commanding performance in their 6-1 drubbing of Werder Bremen. While Demba Ba and Fernando Torres were firing blanks at the Etihad, Chelsea's on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku was basking in the glow of a double for West Brom against Sunderland."

Julian Bennetts, Hayters news agency, England.

"Scoring twice in a cup final deserves respect, and Nathan Dyer was Swansea's star man on their special day. But there have been other star performers around Europe, with Javi Martinez a hugely impressive figure for Bayern as they seem set to rule both at home and abroad. Rafael is improving with every game and his strike for Manchester United at QPR was astonishing, while Gonzalo Higuain made a great impact for Real Madrid. Again, Swansea's Capital One Cup victory has to take precedence this week, particularly as it is their centenary year. But Bayern's victories against Arsenal and Werder Bremen were hugely impressive, while PSG did just enough to squeeze past Marseille.

Aurelio Capaldi, RAI Sport, Italy.

"First trophy in 101 years for Swansea and Michael Laudrup deserves credit for what he has achieved till now with the Welsh club. As well as beating Bradford and winning the Capital One Cup, he made his team play nice football. Goalkeepers were very important last weekend. Joe Hart had a major role in Manchester City-Chelsea and was capable of saving a penalty taken by Frank Lampard at a very delicate time of the game. Samir Handanovic allowed Inter Milan to stay alive against AC Milan in a derby where he was the best man on the pitch as he made at least 3 decisive saves on Mario Balotelli's attempts."

Christian Schaetzle, derfussballblogger.de, Germany.

"Kevin Prince Boateng was the only player last week to really shine in both a decisive league game as well as in a Champions League game. Boateng was just as outstanding in (Milan's) 2-0 win over Barcelona as in the 1-1 draw against local rivals Inter Milan. Franck Ribery displayed one of his weaker performances in the game at Arsenal. Nevertheless, he also contributed to showing you can win 3-1 there. This week there was only one notable team to win both their game in European competition as well as their national league game: Bayern Munich. Bayern are the bookmakers' new favorites for the Champions League following the 3-1 win at Arsenal in the Champions League last-16."

James Porteous, South China Morning Post, Hong Kong.

"Bayern were probably the most impressive team of the week, comfortably beating Arsenal in the Champions League before hammering Werder Bremen to continue their remorseless march to the Bundesliga title, but for romance's sake I've gone for Swansea as top team. From near extinction to a first piece of silverware in a matter of years, and playing good football along the way, surely every neutral will applaud the Welsh side's win. Top player of the week was a little more difficult to pick, with plenty of impressive performances - Kaka, Giggs, Robben, etc. - but none that stood out head and shoulders above all else. So let's stick to the cup winners and give it to two-goal Nathan Dyer, probably the stand-out in an impressive team display from Swansea."

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

"A very serious dilemma awaits. Barcelona is the best club in the world, and one loss isn't enough to change my mind on that. However, if Barca gets knocked out of the Champions League, this is a reality that will have to be addressed, and I'm not sure exactly how. Until that happens, they're hanging on to the top spot on my ballot, even with a two-goal loss. When I look at the week's top players, Champions League goals and assists are kind of like away goals. They count twice. So Thomas Muller gets the nod for scoring a goal and setting up another in Bayern Munich's win over Arsenal. My ballot also covers a bit wider area this week. Salpingidis' two overhead goals in Greece were worthy of recognition, and Carlos Luna's two goals in five minutes for River Plate are noted, along with Emanuel Villa's two for UANL Tigres in Mexico."

Copyright 2017 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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