Ferenc Puskas, what a chap. Imagine being so cool that you have an award for the best goal in a year named after you?
FIFA get stick sometimes but a major award of this kind was one of their better ideas. Inaugurated in 2009, it has 11 different winners in 11 years of running.
That got us thinking; which goal is the king of all goals? We went ahead and ranked the winners of the Puskas Award.
11. Mohamed Salah – 2018
The worst of this great bunch and it isn’t even close. A remarkable season for Mohamed Salah, which saw him break the record for goals in a 38-game Premier League season, was widely recognised as one of the best in English football history, claiming the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.
One prize he shouldn’t have collected is the Puskas Award.
Salah would cut inside from the right wing like a prime Arjen Robben and whack it into the top corner on most weekends, and yet a distinctively average strike from his vast goal collection somehow won in 2018. Bizarre.
10. Miroslav Stoch – 2012
Former Chelsea winger Miroslav Stoch found himself winning the Puskas Award after hitting a looping volley for Fenerbahce in their 1-0 win over Gençlerbirliği
Sure, it’s a looping volley, but not a looping volley.
9. Daniel Zsori – 2019
A bicycle kick from Hungarian teenager Daniel Zsori was the difference between his club at the time, Debrecen, and Ferencvaros, one that the big man Puskas himself would have been proud of.
However, Zsori’s strike has the same criticisms as Stoch’s – in fact, the goalkeeper even gets a glove on this one. The technique for Zsori’s goal required more technique, so he edges this ninth-placed playoff. We’re sure he’ll be delighted.
8. Neymar – 2011
Back when Neymar was a wee winger for Santos in Brazil and still announcing himself to the world, he did so in the best way he probably could with this Puskas Award winning effort.
In a remarkable 5-4 defeat to Flamengo, Neymar comes inside off the left, roasts a hapless defender with a silky piece of skill before dinking it over the goalkeeper with a defender onrushing.
Like Salah, the goal isn’t high up in this list because it’s a pretty typical Neymar goal, one we’ve come to expect of him since he moved to Europe. Lovely on the eye, but not a truly legendary goal.
7. Hamit Altintop – 2010
The standard rate of scoring a goal from a corner is around 17%, so who only knows the probability of Turkey midfielder Hamit Altintop striking this straight into the top bin with a volley from just outside the area.
Similar to the Stoch goal on this list, Altintop’s effort in this Euro 2012 qualifier against Kazakhstan has far more venom about it, rendering the ball to a blur of pixels when looking back at it. The goalkeeper also genuinely has no chance of reaching this one, so he gets extra points for that.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 2013
An overhead kick from 30 yards being sixth in this list? Well, blame the rules, not us.
FIFA’s criteria states that the winner should not be a goal as the result of “
Sorry Zlatan, but blame Burnley’s back-up stopper.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo – 2009
The first winner of the Puskas Award was a strike and a half, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s 40-yard piledriver – a shot so hard that it caught the TV directors off guard – flying into the Porto net during a Champions League tie with Manchester United.
Like Ibrahimovic’s bicycle kick, though, goalkeeper error knocks it down a couple of notches. No way should a goalkeeper be beaten from 40 yards, especially in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Not on. Sort it out, Helton. And put some shorts on.
4. Mohd Faiz Subri – 2016
Blimey, did Roberto Carlos come out of retirement just to play in the Malaysian Super League?
Mohd Faiz Subri quickly rose to internet fame with this curling free-kick from range, completely bamboozling the goalkeeper and soaring into the top corner.
No real complaints about this one; it may not have been scored at an elite level, but who’s stopping that shot? Who’s questioning the technique? Nobody, that’s who. Well played, Subri.
3. Wendell Lira – 2015
And so we move onto the podium of our winners.
Crosstown rivals Goianesia and Atletico were separated by a goal straight out playground headers and volleys.
Wendell Lira makes a darting run beyond the defensive line, latching onto a scooped pass and winning the derby with an overhead kick. Sensational.
2. James Rodriguez – 2014
This is it, the kind of goal every kid dreams about.
The World Cup – Colombia’s first in two decades – was the ultimate stage for James Rodriguez to announce himself to the world, and boy did he do just that.
While Rodriguez was already making headlines in Brazil that summer (“The name’s Bond, James Rodriguez”), this goal truly was the clincher for stardom.
Taking the ball on his chest and adjusting his body slightly, the then-Monaco midfielder struck a 25-yard volley over Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera. A star was born.
1. Olivier Giroud – 2017
If Rodriguez’s goal was the stuff of dreams, then Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick for Arsenal against Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day was an impossibility.
Alexis Sanchez’s cross for the France international was just a little behind him, but the notoriously un-athletic Giroud managed to hook his boot onto the ball and direct it onto the underside of the bar and in.