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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Updated: December 18, 11:33 AM ET
Messi kickin' it at the top

ESPN Playbook

Lionel Messi has been a staple in the Cross-Sport Power Rankings with the year he's been having, and for the fourth time the Argentine footballer garnered the top spot. Messi received top billing after breaking German great Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a year by scoring for the 86th time in 2012. The phenomenal forward tied the record with a goal in the 16th minute and then broke the 1972 milestone by netting another one nine minutes later.

Landing in the No. 2 position was Juan Manuel Marquez, who delivered a knockout punch to Manny Pacquiao in the final seconds of the sixth round, winning for the first time in four fights with Pacquiao. Johnny Manziel took the No. 3 spot for becoming the first freshman to take home the coveted Heisman Trophy.

Rounding out the top five was Kobe Bryant, who became the fifth player in NBA history to score 30,000 career points, and Giants rookie running back David Wilson, who had his own record-setting performance.

That's how our panel ranked them, but do you agree? Let your voice be heard in the comments, and if you impress the panel, you could be chosen as a guest ranker for next week.

2012 Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel: Sara Walsh, John Buccigross, Robert Flores, Michael Smith, Bram Weinstein, Mike Hill, Jorge Andres, Charissa Thompson, DJ Gallo, Jim Basquil, Kevin Connors, Jeff MacGregor and Steve Weissman

Last week: Andrew Luck No. 1 | Cross-Sport Power Rankings archive »

The Cross-Sport Power Rankings week runs from Tuesday to Monday, covering all sporting events in that seven-day span.