FIFA PÚSKAS AWARD
What is the Púskas award and where did the name come from?
Brazil striker Richarlison is one of the players nominated for the Púskas award for his Qatar 2022 World Cup goal against Serbia.
The Best FIFA Football Awards will take place on Monday 27 February, with players, both male and female, from all around the globe set to be rewarded for their stellar performances across 2022 (and a little bit earlier).
The awards were first introduced in 2017 with the aim of reviving the FIFA World Player Gala, which soccer’s governing body created as competition for the Ballon d’Or after the 1990 World Cup but discontinued in 2009. The Best Player, Best Coach and Best Goalkeeper are among the prizes up for grabs for both sexes, while one other award will also be handed out that everyone is eligible for.
The Púskas award was created in 2009 and, according to the FIFA website, is an “accolade which recognises the year’s most spectacular goal across men’s and women’s football”. 11 goals were nominated by two expert panels on both men’s and women’s soccer, with fans voting online to select three finalists. The winner will then be decided by FIFA-selected pundits.
Who are the finalists for the 2023 FIFA Puskás award?
Here are this year’s finalists, along with a short description as provided by FIFA:
Marcin Oleksy (Poland): Warta Poznań v. Stal Rzeszów [PZU Amp Futbol Ekstraklasa] (6 November 2022)
“Polish amputee player Oleksy combined exceptional athleticism, imagination and ability to score with a jaw-dropping scissor kick. His goal triggered wild celebrations among his Warta Poznan team-mates – and footage of the astonishing strike soon went viral. After his Puskás Award nomination, Oleksy’s superstar compatriot Robert Lewandowski posted a message of support for him on social media”.
Dimitri Payet (France): Olympique de Marseille v. PAOK Thessaloniki [UEFA Europa Conference League] (7 April 2022)
“Marseille captain Payet added another special strike to his burgeoning collection of magnificent long-range goals in this UEFA Conference League quarter-final encounter. Payet was positioned menacingly 25 yards from goal when he was spied by corner-taker Cengiz Under. Under clipped a pass into Payet’s path, and the Frenchman duly showcased his immaculate technique to blast a trademark thunderbolt into the top corner of the net.”
Richarlison (Brazil): Brazil v. Serbia [FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022] (24 November 2022)
“Brazil ace Richarlison won the Qatar 2022™ Goal of the Tournament award for this stunning effort in a 2-0 group-stage win over Serbia. The attacker, high on confidence having opened the scoring in the game, controlled Vinicius Junior’s driven pass before swivelling his frame and sending an amazing acrobatic volley beyond goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic”.
Who was Ferenc Púskas? Why is the award named after him?
Of course, those of you who know your history will be well aware of the name Ferenc Púskas, who the award is named in honour of. The Hungarian was one of the first superstars of global soccer in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to his incredible goalscoring exploits with Budapest Honved, Real Madrid and the Hungary national team (he also played four times for Spain), which led to five league titles in his native country, another five and three European Cup wins in Spain, Hungary reaching the World Cup final in 1954 and winning gold in the Olympics in 1952.
How many goals did he score? Well, a lot. 383 in 367 games for Budapest Honved, 242 in 262 appearances for Real Madrid and 84 in 85 matches for Hungary. To put it simply, Púskas knew a thing or two about scoring goals, which is why FIFA decided to name this particular award after him in 2009, three years after his death at the age of 79.