LONDON (AP) — Manchester City is first in this week's Associated Press global football poll after beating city rival Manchester United 4-1, and Sergio Aguero's two goals put him at the top of the player vote.
City received 157 points out of a possible 180 in the team vote to finish 20 points ahead of Napoli. Aguero, who also scored in the Champions League for City earlier in the week, received 131 votes, five more than Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
"Sergio Aguero got a goal and an assist against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League and then scored a double in the derby game," Paris-based Irish football writer Mark Rodden said. "Having netted the goal that won the league two years ago - and the winner against United last season - the Argentine can hardly be more popular with City fans."
Napoli is second after opening its Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund before beating AC Milan by the same score at the San Siro. Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored Napoli's winner in the game against Milan, is fourth in the player rankings with 71 points, three ahead of Barcelona forward and compatriot Lionel Messi.
Rafael Benitez's side have won all of its five games so far this season and again impressed this week's AP panel of 18 voters. "First, a convincing win over last season's Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund and then a first away victory over AC Milan since the days of Diego Maradona," Julian Bennetts of Hayters news agency said. "There is a real sense of momentum around Rafa Benitez's side at present and they look genuine candidates for every competition this season."
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey are once more recognized as the heartbeat behind Arsenal's good run of form. The midfielders are sixth and seventh respectively in this week's rankings, falling from second and third place the previous week. Ramsey scored the opener in Arsenal's 3-1 win against Stoke but Ozil received nine more votes (51) for an impressive all-round display that included two assists.
"Ozil left his fingerprints all over Arsenal's 3-1 win over Stoke City," said Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post, while Orfeo Gonzalez of El Mundo said: "Arsenal is different with Ozil in the team, a 'hors categorie' player."
While Ronaldo is in second place, his Real Madrid side was voted into sixth position in the team vote. Madrid is three points behind Barcelona but Ronaldo has 58 points more than Messi, after the Portugal forward scored five goals in two games.
"Lionel Messi followed Ronaldo's hat trick against Galatasaray with one of his own against Ajax," James Porteous of South China Morning Post said. "But while Ronaldo added to his tally on the weekend, Messi failed to score. Pedro took the plaudits with a hat trick of his own."
Barcelona's Pedro is third in the player vote. Tied in 10th position are Everton defender Leighton Baines and Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who both received 27 votes: Baines scored from two excellent free kicks in Everton's 3-2 win against West Ham, while Reina became the first man to save a penalty from AC Milan's Mario Balotelli, who had not missed one of his previous 21 spot-kicks.
AP Global Football rankings (for week ending Sept. 24)
1. Sergio Aguero, 131 points.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, 126.
3. Pedro, 93.
4. Gonzalo Higuain, 71
5. Lionel Messi, 68.
6. Mesut Ozil, 52.
7. Aaron Ramsey, 41.
8. Yaya Toure, 38.
9. Victor Valdes, 32.
10. Leighton Baines, Pepe Reina (tie) 27.
1. Manchester City, 157.
2. Napoli, 137
3. Bayern Munich, 108.
4. Arsenal, 93.
5. Barcelona, 91.
6. Real Madrid, 88.
7. Atletico Madrid, 67.
8. Roma, 42.
9. Inter Milan, 39.
10. FC Basle, 37.