Today’s footballing world definitely recognises the Ballon d’Or to be the most important individual award for a player and rightly so. But FIFA’s Puskas award is no less a trophy in terms of achievement as the award recognises the best goal scored by a player in a single season spanning domestic and international matches among every possible football league in the world.
The award is in honour of Ferenc Puskás, the striker of Real Madrid at the late 1950s and the 1960s, and central member of the highly successful Hungarian side of the same era. Puskás is widely considered by many to be the most powerful and prolific forward European football produced in first division football and scored a once world record of 84 goals in 85 internationals. He is one of the top scorers of the 20th century with 512 goals in 528 matches. The award established on 20 October 2009 by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), at the behest of former president Sepp Blatter, in order to award the player, male or female, judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant, or “most beautiful”, goal of the year.
The Puskas award is handed over the same day as the Ballon d’Or and finally, the nominations for the much-coveted trophy for the 2015-16 season has been revealed.
Shortlist for FIFA Puskas Award 2016
Mario Gaspar Spain: Nov. 13, 2015, Spain vs. England, international friendly
Hlompho Kekana, South Africa: March 26, 2016, Cameroon vs. South Africa, African Nations Cup qualifier
Marlone, Brazil: April 21, 2016, Corinthians vs. Cobresal, Copa Libertadores
Lionel Messi, Argentina: June 21, 2016, United States vs. Argentina, Copa America Centenario semifinal
Neymar, Brazil: November 8, 2015, Barcelona vs. Villarreal, Spanish La Liga
Saul Niguez, Spain: April 27, 2016, Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, UEFA Champions League
Hal Robson-Kanu, Wales: July 1, 2016, Wales vs. Belgium, Euro 2016
Daniuska Rodriguez, Venezuela: March 14, 2016, Venezuela vs. Colombia, South American U17 Women’s Football Championship
Simon Skrabb, Finland: Oct.31, 2015, Gefle vs. Atvidaberg, Swedish Allsvenskan
Mohd Faiz Subri, Malaysia: Feb. 16, 2016, Penang vs. Pahang, Malaysia Super League
FIFA Puskas Award 2016 : All Nominated Goals
Quite predictably, Lionel Messi features on the list again courtesy his brilliant long free kick against the United States, in the 4-0 semifinal win of the Copa America earlier this year earning his fifth nomination for the award since its inception.
He is joined by fellow Barcelona team mate Neymar who is also in the nomination list for the fifth time in his career courtesy a flick and volley against La Liga side Villareal.
Who scored the best goal of the year? The race to determine the winner of the FIFA Puskás Award has started today https://t.co/iHdYM5c3hw
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) November 21, 2016
Also in the nomination list is Atletico Madrid’s talented young prospect Saul Niguez whose sublime solo effort against Bayern Munich proved to be quintessential for Atletico Madrid as the Spanish side edged past the Bavarians to qualify for the Champions League final in May.
Spain full-back Mario Gaspar is nominated for his acrobatic volley in last November’s friendly victory over England, while Hal Robson-Kanu’s “Cruyff turn” and finish in Wales’ surprise Euro 2016 quarterfinal victory over Belgium is also on the list.
A fine piece of control and an amazing volley by Corinthians attacking midfielder Marlone against Cobresal in April is also one of the top contenders for the individual goal award by FIFA.
Gefle midfielder Simon Skrabb also makes the list with an outlandish finish in a Swedish Allsvenskan match in October 2015, netting an outstanding “scorpion goal” from Kristian Bergstrom’s cross.
The Women’s Under-17 Sudamericano Championship in March saw Daniuska Rodriguez score a solo goal for Venezuela against Colombia holding off two defenders with a fabulous display of strength and dribbling before she fired clinically past the goalkeeper making the goal one of the best individual ones scored last season.
Another free kick goal in the Puskas award nominations comes for Mohd Faiz Subri who scored a physics-defying set piece for Penang against Pahang in the Malaysia Super league. Something former Real Madrid and Brazil defender Roberto Carlos would be proud of.
South Africa international Hlompho Kekana scored from the halfway line against Cameroon in an African Nations Cup qualifier in March when the defender noticed the Cameroon goalkeeper off his line after collecting the ball on the right hand side well away from the opposition goal.
Wales internation Hal Robson-Kanu is also in the contention list for the Puskas award with his amazing goal against Belgium in the Euro 2016 finals earlier this year. The striker showed off a tremendous amount of skill wrong footing three defenders with one clever chop turn inside the penalty box before firing past the Belgian Goalkeeper.
Each and every goal in the nomination list is an example of football at its best and has provided crucial for the team in one way or the other and no matter who wins the award, these amazing strikes will definitely go down in history as some of the best scored goals of the modern day game.