Wednesday 01 December 2021, 20:00

FIFA Puskás Award: nominees in focus

  • Eleven players have been nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award

  • Previous winners include Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mo Salah

  • You can vote for the winner

A scorpion kick, searing solo-runs, unexpected long-distance strikes... If you have not yet decided who deserves your vote for the FIFA Puskás Award 2021, then let us help with a closer look at the 11 shortlisted goals.

One of the standout players at the Copa America 2021, Colombia’s Luis Diaz showcased his undeniable talent throughout the tournament in Brazil. And it was precisely against the hosts that the wide man registered his entry on the list. When team-mate Juan Cuadrado whipped a cross in from the right, Diaz slipped into the box unnoticed before deftly adjusting his body to rifle a scissor-kick past a stunned Weverton.

Did you know? Luis Diaz kicked on after that strike to finish the tournament with four goals and share the top-scorer award with Lionel Messi, who captained Argentina to the title.

One, two, three, four... When Gauthier Hein burst into the Chamois Niortais penalty area, no fewer than five opponents tried in vain to dispossess him. The French right winger somehow weaved his way through the defence with a dizzying demonstration of twists, tricks and close control that culminated in a thumping finish into the top-right corner.

Did you know? Throughout his career, the 25-year-old Frenchman has scored just 13 goals. Could one of them be good enough for the Puskás Award?

It was scoreless in the North London derby when Tottenham Hotspur's Erik Lamela had his side dreaming of victory at the home of their arch-rivals. The jubilation was sparked by an audacious rabona that flew past three Arsenal defenders before nestling in bottom corner. In the end, though, it was not enough to deny the home side, who turned things around to take all three points.

Did you know? This was not the first time Lamela scored a rabona goal for Spurs. Back in 2014, while playing in the Europa League against Asteras Tripolis, the Argentinian also converted that way.

After being sidelined with a muscle injury for the early part of the 2020 season at new club Borussia Monchengladbach, Valentino Lazaro had no choice but to sit tight and hope his time would come. That perseverance was duly rewarded on 8 November, when he came off the bench on 63 minutes and scored with an exquisite scorpion-kick that the Leverkusen keeper could only watch and admire.

Did you know? That match saw Lazaro get playing time in two consecutive games for the first time that season.

Riyad Mahrez’s entry on the list is all about perfect execution. After cushioning an inch-perfect cross-field ball with a flick of his heel, the Manchester City ace turned his marker not once but twice to create space to drill a low shot across the keeper. His strike put Algeria 2-0 up away to Zimbabwe in their CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, although the home side would battle back to finish 2-2.

Did you know? Despite the draw, Algeria managed to qualify for next year’s continental championship, making Mahrez’s delight both personal and collective.

The build-up was the kind of thing seen every day on pitches the world over. From a free-kick inside their own half, a Supreme Ladies player sent a speculative long ball into the opposition box. What happened then was anything but run-of-the-mill. When the ball was headed back in her direction, Sandra Owusu-Ansah met it with a swivelling 30-yard volley that flew in just under the crossbar.

Did you know? Sandra Owusu-Ansah is the first Ghanaian woman to be nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award. However, her compatriots Michael Essien, Agyeman Badu and Kevin Prince Boateng have all been nominated previously.

Patience and ice-cool finishing were the hallmarks of this strike. Vangelis Pavlidis, then on the books of Willem II, received the ball with his back to goal some 22 yards out. Shaking off two markers, he found his path through the middle blocked by three defenders. Forced to go left, he cut inside to leave another defender on the floor before calmly dinking the ball over the keeper from a tight angle.

Did you know? Over the 34 games he played in the Eredivisie last season, Pavlidis racked up 12 goals and five assists.

Picking up the ball near the left touchline 35 yards from goal, Daniela Sanchez set off on a mazy run that took her to the edge of the area. Brushing off attempts by four defenders to stop her and with the target in sight, she unleashed a thunderous drive that fizzed into the top corner.

Did you know? Not only did the last-minute strike earn Queretaro the three points, it also came against fierce rivals San Luis.

One of the revelations of UEFA EURO 2020, Patrik Schick scored both his side’s goal in their group-stage win over Scotland, with the second of these earning the striker his place on the list. When a long-range Scottish effort rebounded off a defender into Schick’s path, he surprised everyone by allowing the ball to run and, rather than taking on his opponent or bearing down on goal, letting fly with his first touch from just past halfway to catch the goalkeeper off his line.

Did you know? Patrik Schick’s five goals at EURO 2020 made him joint top-scorer alongside Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the quarter-finals of last season’s UEFA Champions League, Porto ran up against eventual winners Chelsea, going down 2-0 in the home leg before winning 1-0 in London. The disappointment of going out may have been somewhat assuaged by Taremi’s unforgettable winner. Well into added time, the Iranian tracked a deep cross from the right, which he directed into the top corner with an exquisitely executed scissor-kick.

Did you know? Mehdi Taremi's strike was chosen as the goal of the season by UEFA.

Just when it seemed that Manchester United had cleared the danger from their area, Weir recovered possession just outside the box. Instead of trying her luck with a powerful shot, the Scottish forward surprised everyone by executing a drag back and then gently wedging the ball over the helpless keeper.

Did you know? If the words ‘Manchester derby, Caroline Wier goal and Puskás nomination’ have a familiar ring to them, that is because the player was also nominated last year for another strike against the Citizens’ arch-rivals.