KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — Since the 2009 inception of the Fifa Puskas Award, only three Asian players have been listed among the top 10 nominees to date, with Malaysia’s Mohd Faiz Subri going a step further after being listed among the top three finalists for the 2016 award.
Kumi Yokoyama and Hisato Sato, both from Japan, did not make the cut into the top three finalists in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
Mohd Faiz has for company Brazil’s Johnath Marlone Azevedo da Silva and Venezuela’s woman player Daniuska Rodriguez for the award given for the most beautiful goal of the year.
The award has been dominated by European and South American players in the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The Penang striker’s aim at Puskas glory is courtesy of a spectacular free kick in a Super League match against Pahang on February 16 last year, with the ball curling from an impossible angle into the right corner of the net, leaving a bewildered Pahang goalkeeper — and football fans — in its wake.
The video clip of Mohd Faiz’s freekick masterpiece, first uploaded by FifaTV on November 21 on YouTube, has been viewed over 2.3 million times while those of Marlone and Rodriguez have garnered over one million views apiece.
Their goals have sidelined those delivered by football stars such as Lionel Messi’s long free kick in Argentina’s Copa America 4-0 semifinal victory over the United States, and Neymar’s flick and volley for Barcelona against Villarreal.
The Puskas Award is scheduled to be presented in Zurich, Switzerland tomorrow or early Tuesday in Malaysia during The Best Fifa Football Awards 2016.
The award is named after Hungarian football legend Ferenc Puskas who enjoyed huge success with Real Madrid in the 1950s and 60s as well as the highly successful Hungarian side of the same era.
Portugal’s Ronaldo was the first Puskas Award recipient in 2009, followed by Turkey’s Hamit Altintop (2010), Neymar from Brazil (2011), Slovakian Miroslav Stoch (2012), Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2013) and James Rodriguez from Colombia (2014).
For 2015, an unknown player from Brazil, Wendell Lira, from Club Goianesia took home the award. — Bernama