World Player of the Week: Lionel Messi – Argentina, Barcelona

Deportivo La Coruna
4-5 Barcelona

Even by Lionel Messi’s impossibly-high standards, this was something of a week to remember.

The attacking maestro scored the first in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Chile in midweek to keep them top of the Conmebol qualifying group, dragging the ball back and away from the defender before firing home in style.

On Saturday, Messi settled a thriller at the Riazor to keep Barcelona top of the Liga pile, hitting a superb hat-trick (his 21st for the Blaugrana) and creating another as Tito Vilanova’s men battled to a 5-4 victory.

And to top it all off, the 25-year-old raced away after the game in Galicia to be by girlfriend Antonella’s bedside for the birth of his first son, Thiago.

The Argentina star now has 15 goals this season, and has moved to within four goals of Pele’s all-time record of 75 strikes in a calendar year, with his recent performances for club and country surely moving him into poll position to claim another Ballon d’Or as he becomes a father for the first time. Whichever way you look at it, Messi is the daddy.

Congratulations to Lionel Messi,’s 179th World Player of the Week winner!

Honourable Mention

Carlos Saucedo – Bolivia

At 33, Saucedo would have been forgiven for thinking his World Cup career was over before it had begun – but he could not have been more wrong. The San Jose de Oruro striker smashed a stunning hat-trick in Bolivia’s 4-1 thrashing of Uruguay.

Miroslav Klose – Germany/Lazio

The veteran forward hit two goals in Germany’s thrilling 4-4 draw with Sweden, moving to within just one goal of Gerd Muller’s all-time Nationalelf scoring record of 68. Over the weekend, he struck again in club colours, giving Lazio a 3-2 win over AC Milan.

Edin Dzeko – Man City/Bosnia

He may not enjoy his ‘super-sub’ tag, but Dzeko certainly seems to thrive as an impact player. He followed up a midweek goal for Bosnia by netting twice in a 10-minute cameo on Saturday, earning the 10 men of Manchester City a potentially vital win against West Brom.

Hossam Ghaly – Al Ahly

The Al Ahly captain led by example as his side booked their place in the CAF Champions League final with a 1-0 win over Sunshine Stars. The 30-year-old set up the game’s only goal and put in an inspired performance in midfield, providing defensive cover and an offensive outlet.

Francesco Totti – Roma

The Roma icon became the third-highest scorer in Serie A history when he scored his 217th Italian top-flight goal against Genoa on Sunday. With the Giallorossi trailing by two goals after just 15 minutes, the 36-year-old inspired his side to a 4-2 comeback.

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