A list in which Lionel Messi isn’t the favorite. FIFA have released their 10 nominees for the 2011 FIFA Puskas Award, with Wayne Rooney’s scissor kick goal in the Manchester derby standing out as the leading candidate. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wonder strike against Lecce, Neymar’s wizadry with the ball or maybe even Dejan Stankovic’s 50 meter volley could give him a fight.
Lionel Messi is also here, with his chip and score from the Champions League against Arsenal, but there’s no way he’ll win, or should win. If it was scored by an obscure name, this wouldn’t have been even considered. FIFA, as usual, gave their competitions a nice stage, with goals from the Women’s World Cup and the U-17 World Cup.
Benjamin de Ceular, Lokeren vs Club Brugge
A nice goal, nothing more. I guess the Belgian Pro League didn’t produce too many beauties this year.
Giovani dos Santos, Mexico vs United States
Giovani dos Santos loves to score at the Gold Cup, and especially against the USA. Two years after his goal in the 5-0 win over the Americans in New York, dos Santos came up with this brilliant curving chip to beat Howard and the USA again.
Julio Gomez, Mexico U-17 vs Germany U-17
FIFA love picking from their own competitions, like the U-17 World Cup, which Mexico won, with Julio Gomez winning the golden ball of the tournament. This bicycle kick is probably one of the main reasons he won the award.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Milan vs Lecce
My favorite goal of the year, although I’m not sure it will win. Brings out the best of Zlatan, and his ability to produce incredible shooting power from unexpected situations. Perfect goal.
Lisandro Lopez, Arsenal vs Olimpo
The Other Lisandro Lopez from the Other Arsenal scores another scissor kick goal straight from a corner kick, although in much more impressive fashion than the Mexican goal.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona vs Arsenal
FIFA couldn’t keep Messi out of this list, although I do think we’ve seen better this year, including from him. Maybe the occasion of the Champions League makes it a bit better. If it had been scored by a player not named Messi, we wouldn’t have been writing about it now.
Neymar, Santos vs Flamengo
The hottest new name to emerge from Brazil in a few years now, Neymar seems set on stardom, despite his difficulties with the national team. His skills at such a young age are phenomenal. This goal against Flamengo, the dribbling, the chip, the switching of feet. Incredibly difficult to finish the way he did.
Heather O’Reilly, United States vs Colombia
Like we said earlier, FIFA love showcasing their own competitions, this time pushing the Women’s World Cup into the spotlight, with a goal that’s OK, maybe pretty good, but nothing more, especially in terms of top 10 goals of the year.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United vs Manchester City
The perfect bicycle kick and the most memorable goal of the last 12 months. Wayne Rooney times Nani’s cross perfectly, and send Old Trafford into a Volcanic eruption.
Dejan Stankovic, Inter Milan vs Schakle
It was an open goal, but it was also from 50 meters out, as Manuel Neuer was caught way outside his goal. Stankovic didn’t even wait for the ball to drop, just volleying it from the halfway line.
Our Prediction – Wayne Rooney will win this one. If one goal created a buzz this year, it was his. FIFA do like to go with big occasions for some goals, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal was better in my opinion, but I’m OK with Rooney winning this one. I won’t be if it’s Lionel Messi’s goal. He’ll have another award to win pretty soon, which he actually deserves.