Ranking the FIFA Puskas Award nominees

November 11th, 2013

FIFA released its annual list of nominees for the best goal of 2013 on Monday, and of course we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you and identified which goal should win the award.

Still, it is up to you fans to vote for your favorite before the three finalists are announced in mid-December. Voting closes Dec. 9th. A second round of voting will then determine the winner, to be revealed at the annual Ballon d’Or presentation.

Without further ado, here’s our list, starting with number 10:

10. Juan Manuel Olivera (Nautico) vs Sport Recife

Nautico’s Uruguayan striker electrified Copa Sudamericana with this wonderful goal off a nice give-and-go at the top of the box. Unfortunately, Nautico are dead-last in Brazil’s Serie A with relegation already confirmed. But at least they have this golazo to hang their hats on!

9. Louisa Necib (Lyon) vs Saint-Etienne

The French have branded Necib as “the female Zidane” for years now, and with goals like this she does the comparison justice. One of the best playmakers in the women’s game, Necib produced her finest effort against Saint-Etienne with this unstoppable long-distance strike.

8. Daniel Luduena (Pachua) vs Tigres

Luduena scored the goal of the season in Liga MX with this outrageous attempt from 70 yards. Impressive, no doubt, but it can’t rank any higher than here because, frankly, we see goals like this scored a handful of times a year. Still, the Pachua man deserves recognition for fulfilling every child’s playground dream.

7. Neymar (Brazil) vs Japan

Neymar went into this summer’s Confed Cup with some questioning whether Barcelona’s import was really worth all the money and hype, having to that point only dazzled in the Brazilian league. He answered those critics right away on the world stage, scoring this golazo in the 3rd minute of Brazil’s first group match on his way to securing tournament MVP honors.

6. Nemanja Matic (Benfica) vs Porto

In the marquee match of the Portuguese league, Benfica’s Matic hammered home an awesome circus-like team goal. After a long cross and two headers from teammates, Matic one-timed the ball from the edge of the box. As the iconic Ray Hudson might say; “Immaculate! Magisterial!”

5. Lisa de Vanna (Sky Blue FC) vs Boston Breakers

What made de Vanna’s goal such a stand-out bicycle kick is that she seemed to expect her teammate’s cross to be ahead of her. De Vanna showed great skill in turning her body and somehow still finishing what is undoubtedly the best goal coming out of the NWSL’s inaugural season.

4. Peter Ankersen (Esbjerg) vs AGF Aarhus

The most recent goal to be nominated, Peter Ankersen turned back the clock with this van Basten-like volley in the Danish Superliga. Ankersen chest-trapped a chip pass from his teammate and sent the ball over the keeper and into the top corner from an impossible angle.

3. Panagiotis Kone (Bologna) vs Napoli

Bicycle kicks are great, but when you have to adjust your body mid-air and do it sideways, now that’s 1000 extra points! Bologna’s Kone did just that against Napoli last season, and although his blast didn’t have much placement, there was simply too much power behind it for Napoli’s Morgan De Sanctis to have a chance.

2. Antonio Di Natale (Udinese) vs Chievo

Okay, wow! Pick your jaws up off the floor everyone. Di Natale’s golazo is pretty much mind-boggling to anyone who has played soccer before. The blend of timing, technique, power and precision on that volley is utter perfection. Only an effort from Superman himself could beat this goal for the Puskas Award…

1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) vs England

Come on, did you really think it could be anyone else? To be honest, Ibrahimovic could have been nominated for several golazos this season, but this is easily the best of the bunch. Zlatan’s unreal bicycle kick from God-knows-how-far out will probably never be duplicated. Unless, of course, Zlatan decides to do it again. He simply has to win.

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