LONDON (AP) – Real Madrid ended 2014 at the top of the Associated Press Global Football 10 after beating Argentina’s San Lorenzo 2-0 in the Club World Cup final.
The victory in Morocco earned Madrid its fourth trophy of the year following successes in the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Copa del Rey.
“Twenty-two wins in a row and world champions… Real Madrid deserves the top spot,” Aurelio Capaldi of RAI Sport in Italy said. Fellow voter Marco Monteverde of News Corp Australia was in agreement.
“What a year for Carlo Ancelotti’s team,” he said. “The world club championship is the crowning achievement.”
Madrid’s win secured first place ahead of city rival Atletico Madrid, which came from behind to win 4-1 at Athletic Bilbao, and Bayern Munich, which is third after beating Mainz 2-1.
Antoine Griezmann led Atletico’s comeback with a ruthless second-half hat trick to take leading player for the first time this season.
“What a hat-trick for Griezmann at Athletic Bilbao – and how he enjoyed it,” Julian Bennetts of Hayters news agency said. “The Frenchman has taken his time to impose himself following his summer move from Real Sociedad but this was a superb performance from a top-class player.”
Lionel Messi was runner-up in the player poll after scoring twice for Barcelona. His team-mate Luis Suarez was ninth after scoring his first Spanish league goal for the club since his offseason transfer from Liverpool.
David Silva was third after his double in Manchester City’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace. Silva had to lead the Premier League champion’s attacking threat in the absence of three strikers, including Sergio Aguero.
“Manchester City deserves recognition for continuing their run of victories despite an injury list that deprives them of any out-and-out strikers,” Mike McGrath of The Sun in England said.
Charlie Austin of Queens Park Rangers entered the poll for the first time this season in fourth after scoring a hat trick in his side’s 3-2 win against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale followed in fifth and sixth, after scoring a goal each for Real in the final against San Lorenzo. Arjen Robben was seventh.