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Top 5 Players from Around the World This Weekend: Pirlo, Adam and the Ox Shine

Dan ColasimoneContributor IFebruary 2, 2014

Top 5 Players from Around the World This Weekend: Pirlo, Adam and the Ox Shine

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Midfielders rule our list of top players from around the world this weekend, with one full-back sneaking in to the top five to break the hegemony.

    The table-toppers in Germany, Italy and England all won to continue their fine seasons, thanks to some standout performances from certain talented individuals.

    Meanwhile, Manchester United were upset by plucky Stoke courtesy of two goals from former Liverpool man Charlie Adam.

    In South America, the season proper is not yet underway, but two of football's biggest rivals met in a typically feisty encounter in Mendoza.

    Here are five of the best players from the weekend's action.

5. Andrea Pirlo

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    This may not be a classic Internazionale side, but the Derby d'Italia is still one of the biggest fixtures in the Serie A calender.

    Juventus came away with a dominant 3-1 win on Sunday which was orchestrated from midfield by the timeless genius that is Andrea Pirlo.

    The elegant playmaker assisted Juve's first goal with a glorious pass to Stephan Lichtsteiner, then continued to run the midfield as he has done countless times before.

    Inter had nobody on the pitch who was a match for the great man.

4. Gabriel Mercado

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    It may have just been a pre-season friendly, but when River Plate play Boca Juniors the stakes are always high.

    Argentina's two super-clubs went head to head in the neutral territory of Mendoza, and it was River who came out 2-1 winners thanks to strikes from Gabriel Mercado and Teofilo Gutierrez.

    Apart from scoring a sensational header, full-back Mercado patrolled the touchline all game, sending in a number of dangerous crosses, and performed his defensive duties with aplomb in a man-of-the-match performance.

3. Charlie Adam

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Stout Scotsman Charlie Adam put Manchester United to the sword on Saturday with a classy brace.

    Stoke ran out 2-1 victors against the English champions with Adam running the show, Pirlo style, from the center of the pitch.

    His second goal, belted in at an angle from outside the box, was an absolute screamer. 

2. Thiago Alcantara

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    Michael Probst/Associated Press

    Bayern Munich are making the Bundesliga look easy this season, and this weekend saw them produce another stunning display.

    The latest victim was Eintracht Frankfurt, who they demolished by five goals to nil.

    The best player on the pitch was ex-Barcelona man Thiago Alcantara, who showed why Pep Guardiola wanted to bring him to the German capital by producing a supremely composed performance in midfield.

    The Spaniard's passing game was exemplary as he directed the play like a veteran throughout the match.

1. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Arsene Wenger named Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his starting 11 for the first time since the opening round of the season, and the zippy youngster made his mark with a pair of excellent goals in Arsenal's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

    The 20-year-old England international launched himself like a bullet at the Palace defense on his way to scoring a stunning second goal, after having previously shown tremendous control to dink the ball in for an impressive opener.

    Gunners fans must be delighted to see him back.

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