?The Puskás Award.
Rarely has something so insignificant to the world of football caused so much divide for fans, often seeing bang average (at best) strikes from the world’s biggest stars getting the nod ahead of generational goals from lesser-known leagues on the planet.
Was Matheus Cunha’s apparent ‘solo’ effort – he dribbled past one defender, and the defender was only Leverkusen’s Wendell – really among the top 10 goals scored last season?
Was the fact that someone, who has a black belt in Taekwondo, scores a goal using a Taekwondo move, all that impressive?
We felt like there were more than a few glaring omissions from this year’s shortlist, and the chances are that you did too. So with YouTube inevitably open on the next tab, let’s run through seven goals which really should have been in contention for the Puskás Award.
7. Lionel Messi vs Liverpool
FIFA, if you’re that desperate to put Lionel Messi in the shortlist, can you at least put his best goal of the 2018/19 season in?
You know, the one which was UEFA’s Goal of the Season.
Now look, that chip against Real Betis was good. I’d even go as far to say that it was really good.
But can something really be nominated for the Puskás Award if we’ve seen Shinji Kagawa score that exact same chip…twice?
6. Vincent Kompany vs Leicester City
If the Ballon d’Or is going to completely overlook how good a player actually is and instead award it to someone for finishing as the runner up at a World Cup, then why can’t we do the same with the Puskás Award?
That’s not taking anything away from Vincent Kompany’s long-range effort against Leicester City either, as that could have easily been voted as the Goal of the Season in the Premier League.
But when your captain who is a 33-year-old centre-back scores from what felt like 1,000 yards out with a goal that wins you the Premier League title, that surely has to mean something, doesn’t it?
5. Fernando Forestieri vs Norwich City
If you though Kompany’s was worth a place on the shortlist, then you’ll probably agree that Fernando Forestieri’s goal against Norwich City last season should too.
From further out, with more power and into the opposite corner of the goal, Forestieri made it look so easy as he picked out the postage stamp at Carrow Road, offering just a small glimpse of what he’s really capable of.
Let’s just cut to the chase, Forestieri’s strike was quite comfortably better than six of the efforts that FIFA selected for their Puskás Award shortlist.
4. Mason Bennett vs Wigan Athletic
Let’s not dwell on it.
Picture Olivier Giroud’s scorpion kick, throw in a little bit of a swivel and actually meaning to do what you end up doing.
That was Mason Bennett against Wigan Athletic.
3. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Leicester City
Straight to the point again.
Almost exactly the same goal as Forestieri’s against Norwich City, except for two reasons.
1) It’s the Premier League, not the Championship.
2) Gylfi Sigurdsson did a Cruyff Turn. And everything is better with a Cruyff Turn.
2. John McGinn vs Sheffield Wednesday
It’s a well-known fact that goals which fly in off the woodwork are automatically better, so go back, re-watch FIFA’s shortlist, and you try to explain why Andros Townsend features in the top 10 but Aston Villa’s John McGinn doesn’t.
McGinn had to shuffle backwards before, from a standing position, volleying the ball from 25 yards onto the underside of the crossbar and over the line.
It was also his first goal for the club.
1. Eric Bicfalvi vs Dynamo Moscow
Ural Yekaterinburg’s Eric Bicfalvi shouldn’t have been nominated for the Puskás Award.
He should have won it.
In a game against Dynamo Moscow at the start of last season, Bicfalvi found himself facing away from goal, backing into a defender, waiting to get on the end of a looping cross towards the back post.
With the high ball eventually dropping out of orbit, Bicfalvi produced one of the greatest first touches ever to not only control the ball but flick it past his marker, leaving Dinamiki’s unfortunate right-back Aleksei Kozlov in a daze before firing the ball inside the post.
Bicfalvi’s strike shouldn’t have even been in a contest for the 2019 Puskás Award, but instead analysed alongside Dennis Bergkamp’s against Argentina, Roberto Carlos’ free-kick against France and Diego Maradona’s solo effort against England as one of the best goals of all time.