Bayern Munich remain top as Atletico Madrid and Barcelona stay in form
No games? No problem for the leaders of Shaka Hislop's Power Rankings.
1. Bayern Munich (no change)
It has been another week off for Bayern, who resume their march to their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title on Jan. 22 at Hamburg. One curiosity to come out of Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony: Only one Bayern player -- Manuel Neuer -- made the FIFPro best XI. Could it be that the German champions are being a little disrespected?
2. Atletico Madrid (no change)
A transfer ban took the shine off another good week for Atletico, who retained their two-point lead atop La Liga with a hard-fought 2-0 win at Celta Vigo. Antoine Griezmann scored that day and the French striker found the net twice in midweek as his side wrapped up a 5-1 aggregate win over Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey round of 16.
3. Barcelona (no change)
Most weeks are pretty good if you're Lionel Messi, but even by his high standards, this one has been extra special. It began with the Argentine netting a hat trick and continued with him winning the Ballon d'Or for the fifth time. Oh, and Barca also won through to the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.
4. Paris Saint-Germain (no change)
PSG have now won eight straight games in all competitions and remain on course to repeat the domestic treble they achieved last season. Most recently they overcame Bastia to move 20 -- that's right, 20 -- points clear at the top of Ligue 1, before beating Lyon in the quarterfinals of the French league cup.
5. Juventus (no change)
Nine straight wins and counting . . . Juve's superb form continued with a 2-1 triumph in a tricky visit to Sampdoria. Paul Pogba once again was The Old Lady's star man, with a superbly taken goal that opened the scoring. The Frenchman was named in the FIFPro best XI on Monday -- is he a Ballon d'Or winner of the future?
6. Real Madrid (no change)
Off the field, Madrid have been hit by a transfer ban, but on it at least, there was reason for cheer. The Zinedine Zidane era got off to a fine start as Gareth Bale scored a hat trick and Karim Benzema struck twice in Madrid's 5-0 win against Deportivo. One man who did not find the net -- despite taking 10 shots -- was Cristiano Ronaldo.
7. Arsenal (no change)
A good week for Arsenal could have been great, but for the late concession of an equalizer to Liverpool in superb game at Anfield. As it is, the Gunners are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup and still top of the Premier League, but next face two more tests of their mettle: Stoke away and Chelsea at home.
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8. Sporting CP (no change)
In-form striker Islam Slimani was at it again Sunday, netting a 90th-minute winner to cap a remarkable comeback, which saw Sporting recover from being two goals down at halftime to win 3-2 vs. Braga. The win sees Jorge Jesus' men consolidate their four-point lead at the top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
9. Napoli (no change)
Top of Serie A at the season's halfway point, Napoli are starting to dream of a first Scudetto since 1990. Their latest outing was an emphatic 5-1 thrashing of Frosinone, in which Gonzalo Higuain scored twice. The Argentine forward has 18 goals in 19 league games this season, and if he can maintain that form, his club could well be celebrating in May.
10. Leicester (new)
Having gone three straight games without winning -- or even scoring -- some might have believed that Leicester's bubble had burst. Not so, it seems. Claudio Ranieri's side were unlucky not to beat Tottenham in the FA Cup at the weekend but made no mistakes three days later when Robert Huth's sent them level on points with league leaders Arsenal.
Dropping out: Manchester City.