Messi back atop rankings

Controversy struck the Cross-Sport Power Rankings this week, and it started right at the top. Some panelists wanted Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre -- who nearly hit for the cycle twice in a week -- installed as this week's winner. Others backed Barcelona star Lionel Messi, who powered his squad to wins over rival Real Madrid and Osasuna. Messi has five goals in three games this season.

In the end, Messi emerged victorious, returning to the top spot in the rankings for the first time since early May, and he joins LeBron James as the only athletes to top the rankings three times in 2012. Last week's winner, Felix Hernandez, slid all the way to sixth, despite two stellar outings. Perfection is a hard standard to live up to.

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's ranking: Felix Hernandez No. 1 | Cross-Sport Power Rankings archive ยป

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