Jonah Freedman
Monday December 1st, 2008

Forgive us for not checking in last Thursday -- we're all feeling as ample-bellied as Cuauhtémoc Blanco after a filling Thanksgiving. So without further ado, enjoy a post-turkey Monday version of the Rankings, complete with a handful of Champions League main courses, a Brazilian side dish and a surprise dessert from the Nile River that may sit longer than we expect it to.

Note: All rankings, records and statistics are through Nov. 30.

World Soccer Power Rankings
1FC Barcelona
Previously: 1
FC Barcelona
The Barça train shows no signs of slowing down. Not only have the Blaugrana clinched the top spot in Champions League Group C with ease, they've also scored 40 goals through 13 league games (more than three per game), a total that's more than twice as many as all but two other Spanish first-division teams. They're now six points up in La Liga.
Previously: 3
Only three goals through their last three games, but no matter -- the Reds can take first place in the English Premier League for themselves with a result on Monday against West Ham. They've also advanced in the Champions League with time to spare, for once. Of great concern, however, is Fernando Torres' third hamstring injury of the season. Is this Robbie Keane's time to shine?
Previously: 4
The Yellow Submarine is no longer undefeated in Spanish league play, but it's still chugging along in the Champions League and has booked a spot in the round of 16. Meanwhile, the New Jersey duo started alongside each other for the first time in Sunday's win over Recreativo: Giuseppe Rossi and American Jozy Altidore, who played well in his first league start. Villarreal now sits alone in second place in Spain.
4Inter Milan
Previously: 5
Inter Milan
It's been a bizarre few weeks for Inter -- which is, of course, status quo. The Nerazzurri have rebounded from their mini-slump of a month ago and now top Serie A by six points after Sunday's solid 2-1 win over Napoli. They've also advanced in the Champions League despite failing to win their past two games in the competition against lesser teams from Greece and Cyprus. And now José Mourinho is angry, demanding better support from the fans and calling out teenage prodigy Mario Balotelli as lazy.
Previously: 2
Don't look now, but Chelsea is winless in its past three games and a far cry from the flowing soccer Luiz Felipe Scolari instituted at the beginning of the season. Sunday's loss to ex-Blue William Gallas and Arsenal particularly stings. Worse, chief exec Peter Kenyon says the debt-laden club won't be chasing any new players come January. That's a bit of a blow for a team that's missing five big-name star players due to injury.
Previously: 7
Its 1-0 loss to league-leading Inter on Nov. 22 aside, Juve has grabbed a firm hold on second place in Serie A thanks to four-goal performances against Genoa and Reggina. And the Old Lady needs only a point at home against BATE Borisov on Dec. 10 to clinch the top spot in Champions League Group H. Of particular interest this week is the recent report that the club wants to borrow a page from the Chivas de Guadalajara book of team-building and recruit an all-Italian side.
7Manchester United
Previously: 8
Manchester United
For as often as Cristiano Ronaldo dazzles with his stepovers, headers, flicks and amazing runs, he's equally as frustrating with his annoying theatrics and petulance towards referees. No one was sad to see him red-carded in Sunday's win over Man. City for blatantly slapping at a corner kick with both hands, and then somehow trying to talk his way out of it. Don't get me wrong, he surely deserves to win FIFA World Player of the Year, but you wonder at what point his antics are going to affect his team. Still, Man. United is only five points back in the EPL with a game in hand and clearly isn't going away in the race to defend its title.
8Bayern Munich
Previously: --
Bayern Munich
Jürgen Klinsmann & Co. are back after their slow start, blazing into the Champions League round of 16 and back in second in the Bundesliga. Who would have thought that Friday's showdown at newly promoted upstart Hoffenheim would be for the league lead? Meanwhile, we're all waiting to see if Landon Donovan's loan is indeed official, and if he can crack the star-laden squad.
9São Paulo
Previously: 9
São Paulo
São Paulo will have to wait another week for its third straight Brazilian Championship title after drawing with Fluminense on Sunday. The Tricolor Paulista is still undefeated in 17 straight matches, and needs only a point in next Sunday's season finale at Goiás to close it out. This group has been highly impressive in keeping its nerve all season long and outmaneuvering all would-be challengers. Read more about them in Tim Vickery's BBC column here.
10Al-Ahly Cairo
Previously: --
Al-Ahly Cairo
A delayed shout-out here for the once-again African Champions League winners. The Egyptian super-club won its record sixth continental crown on Nov. 16 and booked a place at the FIFA Club World Cup, where it will look to build on its surprise third-place showing in '06. To be sure, this is a powerful bunch, with five players from Egypt's African Cup of Nations-winning team in the ranks (including megastar Mohamed Aboutrika), as well as Angolan goal machine and World Cup veteran Flávio Amado.
Honorable mentions: Arsenal, Real Madrid, TSG Hoffenheim, Boca Juniors, Olympique Lyonnais, Atlético Madrid, Olympiakos, Celtic, Santos Laguna
Dropped off: Arsenal, Gamba Osaka

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