Spanish goalkeeper picks up the award after a superb display at the Bernabeu keeps Real Madrid at bay as the La Liga title race begins to heat up
|World Player of the Week
|Games between Real Madrid and Valencia are almost always enthralling and it was no different on Sunday when two of the big clubs of Spanish football locked horns at the Santiago Bernabeu in a key Primera Division clash.
Madrid were favourites to pick up maximum points at home and maintain their six-point gap over Barcelona at the top of the table, but they were in for a shock as Valencia goalkeeper Vicente Guaita turned in a stellar performance. The 25-year-old stood like a wall at the back and repelled Madrid time after time, making a number of world-class saves.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria were left frustrated by Guaita, who also denied Benzema twice from point-blank range before making a double save in injury time.
Guaita’s heroics saw Valencia continue to hold on to third spot in La Liga, and boosted Barcelona’s hopes of winning the league as Pep Guardiola’s team are now just four points behind Madrid in second place.
|Congratulations to Guaita, Goal.com's 151st World Player of the Week winner!
Alex - Paris Saint-Germain
PSG got the better of Olympique de Marseille in Le Classique on Sunday, and defender Alex was the hero in the 2-1 win. The Brazilian centre-back had a strong game for Les Parisiens, keeping Loic Remy on a leash, and scored the winner just after the hour mark. Carlo Ancelotti’s side are now level on points with Montpellier at the top.
Stevan Jovetic - Fiorentina
Fiorentina dealt a blow to AC Milan’s hopes of retaining their Serie A title on Saturday, and while Amauri stole the headlines for his 89th minute winner in the Viola’s 2-1 triumph at San Siro, it was Stevan Jovetic who was the real star of the contest. The Montenegrin youngster scored the equaliser and it was his composed pass that Amauri turned home.
Fernando Muslera - Galatasaray
Fernando Muslera scored the first goal of his career when he successfully converted a penalty for Galatasaray against Manisaspor in their 4-0 Super Lig win away from home. It was the Turkish champions’ last match of the regular season and the Uruguayan goalkeeper’s effort meant that all foreign players have scored at least once this season for the Istanbul giants.
Raul - Schalke
Raul continued to roll back the years both in the Bundesliga and in Europe. The veteran Spanish striker was on target for the Royal Blues in the 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao in their Europa League quarter-final second-leg clash at San Mames last Thursday, and netted a double against Hannover in their 3-0 Bundesliga victory at the weekend.
Paul Scholes - Manchester United
Paul Scholes was another veteran hitting the headlines over the past week, as the Englishman was influential in Manchester United’s wins against Blackburn and QPR. His passing range was evident in their 2-0 away triumph over Rovers last Monday, and on Sunday the 37-year-old scored a brilliant goal to wrap up the win against QPR by the same margin.
On Sunday we encouraged our readers to nominate their choices for the best player of the week and here are the five best comments we had.
Bob, who did not mention his location, backed our decision to give the prize to Guaita.
“Guaita, Valencia's goalie no questions asked. He was undefeatable throughout the whole match and as I watched the match (as a Madrid fan) my respect to him went up a lot for saving such shots as Di Maria's shot from behind the 18-yard line. He deserved 10 rating but goalies are always underrated.”
Izlatan from Macedonia felt that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi should be handed the award after the Argentine forward took his tally to 60 goals this season in all competitions.
“Messi surely deserves it for wreaking havoc on AC Milan and also playing at an extreme high level at the weekend without the other best three in the Barcelona starting lineup. He was the most decisive player of the week for sure."
June in England explained her reasons for voting in favour of Schalke striker Raul.
“Raul Gonzalez Blanco- Schalke 04 without doubt. Score one in Europa League this week against Athletic Bilbao. Score twice in Bundesliga this week against Hannover.”
Jose Montoya from Connecticut, USA, put forth his argument for Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse.
“Papiss Demba Cisse has done wonders for Newcastle this past week netting two goals against Liverpool and two against Swansea.”
Kieran from Dublin highlighted the performance of a certain teenager, whom not many would have heard of.
“19-year-old St Patricks Athletic player Chris Forrester, for scoring two brilliant goals in their 5-1 win over the champions Shamrock Rovers. The opener was a 25 yard screamer and the second was a FIFA-style chip which, as the commentators said, if Messi had scored it people would be raving about. And I say this as a Rovers fan who watched all of this in horror, covering my eyes in shame.”