The 2019 FIFA Puskas Award has been cut from 10 contenders to just three, with Lionel Messi, Juan Quintero and Daniel Zsori the three players in with a chance of receiving the prestigious accolade for the ‘most beautiful’ goal of last season.
The real winner won’t be announced until 23 September at the 2019 FIFA gala in Milan, but these are the three nominated goals ranked by 90min…
3. Juan Quintero (River Plate)
Everyone loves a free-kick goal. The further out, the better. And if it’s in the top corner as well, even better. Juan Quintero’s Puskas-nominated strike for River Plate against Racing Club in Argentina ticks those boxes and then some.
It took a great deal of audacity and confidence to score from the position out wide that he struck the ball, as most players would have opted for an easier cross instead. Quintero thought differently, perfectly catching the goalkeeper off guard.
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Lionel Messi, who is nominated for a ninth time since 2009 but has not yet won the award, scored his latest Puskas entry in a La Liga clash between Barcelona and Real Betis, starting and finishing the move that ended with a delicious and measured chip into the far corner.
The Argentine struck the ball with such finesse that you find yourself close to drooling watching the clip. Time even stands still as the ball just floats over a helpless goalkeeper into the far corner. Power is great, but precision is usually far more majestic.
1. Daniel Zsori (Debrecen)
‘Improvisation’ is the word you would use to describe Daniel Zsori’s overhead kick for Hungarian side Debrecen against domestic rivals Ferencvaros. In short, it was the only way he could possibly have scored in that moment when closely marked by two defenders.
Zsori’s quick thinking turned a poor cross that most players wouldn’t have been able to do anything with into a world class goal. Above anything else, football is at its purest when the unexpected happens and someone can do something truly magical in the moment.
An online fan vote was responsible for cutting the original shortlist from 10 down to three, but a panel of FIFA Legends will now choose the overall winner.