Messi, Ibrahimovic lead Puskas Award nominations for best goal

By Sports Desk August 19, 2019

Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic lead the names nominated for FIFA's Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal of the season.

A panel of FIFA and external football experts selected 10 goals to put to a public vote, with the efforts ranging from the sublime to the outrageous.

Barcelona icon Messi is nominated for the fourth time in five years, while three female players are included after there were none up for the award last year.

All goals selected for consideration were scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019, and we have the low down on each one, with voting open until September 2…

 

Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig) v Bayern Leverkusen – April 6, 2019

Brazilian midfield Cunha dazzled the Leverkusen defence in April's 4-2 win as he latched on to a pass in from the left, beat a defender with a pirouette and then found the net with a sumptuous chip.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy) v Toronto – September 15, 2018

Ibrahimovic has always been synonymous with the extravagant. His goal in last year's 5-3 defeat to Toronto is up there with his best. The Swedish forward got on the end of Jonathan dos Santos' lofted throughball and, despite initially looking set to take it down on his chest, he spun and guided the ball into the net acrobatically. His penchant for martial arts was immediately noticeable from the finish.

 

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) v Real Betis – March 17, 2019

We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

 

Ajara Nchout (Cameroon Women) v New Zealand Women – June 20, 2019

Arguably the standout goal of the Women's World Cup was also a vital winner. With Cameroon being held to a 1-1 draw, Nchout – who also got her team's first – embarked on a mazy run, beating her marker twice with sharp turns before guiding a composed finish in to seal a late 2-1 win and book their place in the knockout phase of the competition.

 

Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) v Napoli – September 2, 2018

Quagliarella went on to have the best season of his career at the ripe old age of 36 last term, scoring 26 times. We should have seen the early signs, as his first of the campaign was a truly special effort. Against his former club Napoli, Quagliarella met Bartosz Bereszynski's right-wing cross with an airborne back-heeled effort from 12 yards that left the goalkeeper helpless.

 

Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate) v Racing Club – February 10, 2019

A former so-called 'wonderkid' who went off the boil before enjoying a resurgence, Quintero has had a fine couple of years. A playmaker with an eye for the spectacular, his free-kick against Racing in the 2-0 Superliga win in February was quintessential Quintero – from about 35 yards out on the right flank, his left-footed strike bent inside the top-right corner in a remarkable display of accuracy.

 

Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals) v Sky Blue FC – June 16, 2019

After picking up possession inside her own half, Rodriguez cleverly side-stepped a defender and burst into the attack. She got to the final third and, sensing little support, let fly with a left-footed screamer that nestled in the top-right corner.

Billie Simpson (Cliftonville Ladies) v Sion Swift Ladies – August 9, 2018

A truly ridiculous goal. Straight from the opposing goal-kick, Simpson volleyed it right back in the opposite direction, catching it perfectly with a ferocious volley that caught the goalkeeper completely off guard.

 

Daniel Zsori (Debrecen) v Ferencvaros – February 16, 2019

Eighteen-year-old Zsori announced himself to Hungarian football in astonishing fashion in February. On his league debut, the attacker met a cross from deep with an overhead-kick just inside the area, picking out the top-far corner in stoppage time to secure a 2-1.

Related items

  • Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham: Maddison stunner secures Foxes win after VAR drama Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham: Maddison stunner secures Foxes win after VAR drama

    James Maddison's superb long-range strike helped Leicester City come from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 following VAR controversy at the King Power Stadium.

    Harry Kane's brilliant improvised finish saw Spurs head into half-time with the advantage on Saturday but a spirited Leicester, who had seen an Ayoze Perez goal chalked off early on, fought back following the interval.

    After a Serge Aurier strike had been ruled out by VAR due to the tightest of offside decisions, Ricardo Pereira got the Foxes back on level terms when he arrived to convert Jamie Vardy's low cross.

    Leicester's comeback was then crowned when the impressive Maddison struck from distance five minutes from time.

    The result means Tottenham have still not won an away game in the Premier League since January, while Leicester climb above them into the top four.

  • I chose Napoli to work with Ancelotti - Lozano I chose Napoli to work with Ancelotti - Lozano

    Hirving Lozano says Carlo Ancelotti was the deciding factor in his move to Napoli.

    The Mexico star joined the Serie A outfit last month for a reported club record €40million after two stellar seasons with PSV in the Eredivisie.

    He has taken quickly to life in Italy, scoring on his debut against Juventus on August 31 and impressing in the Champions League win over Liverpool on Tuesday.

    The likes of AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain were rumoured to be interested in signing the 24-year-old, but he has now revealed that the lure of playing under Ancelotti was too strong to turn down.

    "Napoli had Carlo Ancelotti on the bench and I was won over by the beauty of the city," he told La Repubblica.

    "I knew all about Ancelotti's career. He is a super coach, but I also discovered he's a lovely person."

    Napoli, who travel to Lecce on Sunday, have not won the Serie A title since the 1989-90 season, but Lozano has seen enough during his short time with the club to suggest they are on the right path. 

    "We're close to being a winning team and have to work hard," he added. "I'd only seen my team-mates play on TV before, but I appreciate them even more up close.

    "I was happy in Holland, but I wanted a new adventure and Napoli represents a bright future."

     

  • Rugby World Cup 2019: Ruthless All Blacks lay down a marker with six minutes of magic Rugby World Cup 2019: Ruthless All Blacks lay down a marker with six minutes of magic

    New Zealand were far from perfect in their Rugby World Cup opener, but a six-minute spell of breathtaking brilliance showed why the two-time defending champions remain the team to beat.

    While the All Blacks are understandably many people's favourites to prevail in Japan, it is fair to say their status as rugby's dominant nation has come under more questioning than usual in recent months.

    South Africa won this year's Rugby Championship, in which Steve Hansen's men suffered a stunning 47-26 defeat to Australia - albeit one they avenged the following week with a 36-0 thumping of the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup.

    The All Blacks have also been displaced by Ireland at the top of World Rugby's rankings and the likes of Wales and England have been tipped to mount strong challenges for glory over the coming weeks.

    For 20 minutes on Saturday, any doubts over New Zealand's strength were heightened as South Africa started superbly in a blockbuster Pool B opener in Yokohama that could well serve as a dress rehearsal for the final at the same venue on November 2.

    Throughout the first quarter, the Springboks dominated territorially, their ferocious line-speed causing no end of problems.

    However, one misplaced pass from Faf de Klerk - with South Africa leading 3-0 - triggered a sudden shift in momentum as the All Blacks demonstrated a ruthless streak no other team can match.

    The Boks initially got off lightly when De Klerk's wild pass from a ruck was pounced upon by Richie Mo'unga, who kicked ahead before being halted just short of the line. Makazole Mapimpi was penalised for not releasing the number 10, but the wing avoided a yellow card and the All Blacks merely picked up three points to level the score when a try had appeared highly likely.

    New Zealand had found their mojo, though, and in a matter of minutes they took complete control with two stunning tries in quick succession.

    Hansen's decision to start Beauden Barrett - widely viewed as the world's finest fly-half - at full-back in order to accommodate Mo'unga has prompted much debate, but the presence of two playmakers was certainly influential as the All Blacks hit top gear.

    Mo'unga's cross-field kick to Sevu Reece started the move that led to the first try. Reece promptly skinned the out-of-position Mapimpi before working the ball through Aaron Smith to a galloping Ardie Savea. From the next phase, Barrett surged through a gap from second receiver and laid on a simple finish for George Bridge.

    Barrett was also heavily involved in the passage of play that led up to the All Blacks' second score, which was finished by namesake Scott Barrett after Anton Lienert-Brown had dazzlingly weaved past five defenders.

    Having been 3-0 down and on the rack, New Zealand were suddenly 14 points to the good and their opponents understandably appeared somewhat stunned for the remainder of the half.

    To their credit, the Springboks did battle back gamely after the interval, but they had been left with too much to do.

    It has been 12 years since the All Blacks last lost a World Cup fixture. Their magical six-minute blitz on Saturday suggests it will take something special to deny them another title.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.