The international break has seen some true stars come out to play on the world stage, but Olympique de Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena shone brighter than them all to claim our 201st World Player of the Week prize.
The 28-year-old was simply imperious as France secured a 3-1 win over Georgia, providing two assists either side of his own superb strike to move les Bleus to the top of Group I after Spain could only draw with Finland.
Valbuena bent in the free kick which Olivier Giroud headed home to set Didier Deschamps’ side on their way, before he fired high past Zurab Khizanishvili just after half-time and then fizzed a cross-field ball into the path of Franck Ribery to finish the job at Stade de France.
The Marseille man, having firmly established himself as France’s creator-in-chief, is rapidly becoming one of the most important names on Deschamps’ team-sheet. The spotlight will be firmly on Valbuena once more on Tuesday when Spain come calling, not least since the player’s Valladolid-born father will likely be watching on anxiously.
Goal.com’s Robin Bairner sums up the playmaker’s impressive week: “Mathieu Valbuena has become the talisman of a revitalised France in recent times, and last Friday he produced an outstanding game for les Bleus as he created two goals and scored another as Didier Deschamps’ side took control of World Cup qualifying Group I.
“He showed a terrific range of passing, a keen creative instinct and bundles of energy before being rested late on to preserve him for Tuesday’s titanic match against Spain, which he has admitted will split his family due to his father being Spanish.”