Saturday 26 November 2016, 12:04

Neymar in Puskás prize running for the fifth time

When it comes to the FIFA Puskás Award, Neymar is an old hand. Nominated on no fewer than four occasions in the past, the gifted Brazilian is once again in the running for the prize that recognises the greatest goal of the year, which will be determined at the 2016 Best FIFA Football Awards™ on 9 January 2017.

His goal, an absolute gem, was scored against Villarreal on 8 November 2015, during the 11th round of the 2015/16 La Liga campaign. If he were to emerge victorious from the competition, it would be the second time in his career that he has received the prestigious accolade.

In 2010, 2011 (when he actually won the award) and 2012, he was nominated for fantastic solo runs. In 2013, he finished third after thumping a powerful half-volley into the back of the Japanese net at the FIFA Confederations Cup. This time around, it was a fabulous left-foot flick and right-foot volley that secured Neymar’s spot on the Puskás Award shortlist.

In the 85th minute of Barcelona’s league clash with Villarreal, with the scoreline sitting at 2-0 for the home team, Luiz Suarez picked up the ball on the left-hand side and drove down the flank. He proceeded to chip over a fine cross for Neymar, who controlled the ball instantly with his chest, flicked it over the head of Submarino Amarillo defender Jaume Costa and smashed it past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on the volley to send the fans present at Camp Nou into raptures.

“I knew what I was doing; I’d thought about it beforehand,” said the prodigious Brazilian after the game. “I’m very happy.” Villarreal coach Marcelino, meanwhile, was generous in his praise for the goalscorer. “As the coach of the opposing team, I can’t exactly applaud one of our opponents' goals. But if I’d been a fan in the stands, I certainly would have. Neymar is in the form of his life. He’s becoming a complete player. He’s still young, and he’s the most decisive player in La Liga.”

What about you? Do you share Marcelino’s opinion of Neymar? Is his goal the greatest of the ten on the shortlist? Watch them all and make your choice! The three finalists will be announced on 2 December.