Earlier this month the third FIFA Puskas Award was decided and awarded. Named after the monstrous consumer of goal scoring opportunities and most likely Europe’s best ever striker, Ferenc Puskas, the competition was invented to award the most ‘beautiful goal’ in world football each year. It is judged on the four ambiguous criteria thusly:
- It should be a beautiful goal. Seems obvious until you realise that statement means nothing at all.
- The goal shouldn’t benefit from luck.
- The importance of the game and goal are considered. So that belting volley you scored in the park is out of the running. I don’t care if it was the winner.
- The guy who scored it can’t be on drugs and can’t be dishing out pain all over the pitch.
Instead of showing you what the crooked gangsters at FIFA picked as the last three (Rooney’s ‘bicycle shin’ v Man City, Messi’s beautiful ‘juggle and volley’ v Arsenal, and the winner which I will show), I thought I’d show you three other contenders that were less burnt into the public’s consciousness.
Dejan Stankovic v Schalke 04 – Champions League Quarter Finals 1st Leg
I don’t give a toss that there isn’t a goalkeeper anywhere near the goal. We’ve all seen a few goals scored from the center circle whilst the goalie’s out having a ramble, but not one that was a volley, and not in the first 25 seconds of a quarter final.
That is not a bad clearance by Neuer by any stretch, and the shot may seem a bit easy to some. But they’re cynical people with no love in their life, the shot is absolutely outstanding. Truly demonstrating how well the best teams dish out punishment.
Giovani dos Santos v United States – Gold Cup Final
The Gold Cup is the European Championship equivalent to the people of the horrendously overweight acronym that is the CONCACAF region. I don’t know what Gio has done at Spurs to earn a place permanently off the field but this is the quality he is packing. At international final level.
Sure, he makes Tim Howard look like a three-legged lioness but be honest, if you didn’t know this ended in a goal you’d think he had stuffed the chance. Then comes the chip. It floats like a moth to a lightbulb, looking over the mere mortals that are powerless to stop it.
Julio Gomez v Germany U17 – U17 World Cup Semi Final
It’s a classic – World Cup semi final, 89th minute, bicycle kick, 16 year old. This should have been the winner considering the technique and the occasion.
The Winner: Neymar v Flamengo – Brasileiro Serie A
You will need to watch this one a few times to really get what the wonderkid did. After destroying most of Flamengo’s midfield with a some explosive footwork and a lovely 1-2, Neymar’s legs suddenly do an impersonation of a drunk chasing a cat that would have seen him go through a concrete wall, all topped off with neat finish.