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23rd Nov 2015

JOE chats to Fleetwood Town’s David Ball about his FIFA Puskas Award nomination

Matt Stanger

It isn’t every year that a player from League One is nominated for FIFA’s esteemed Puskas Award – but David Ball’s strike for Fleetwood Town against Preston is worthy of the highest recognition.

Collecting the ball with his back to goal, the 25-year-old evaded his marker with his quick feet before chipping a perfect lob over the keeper.

That there were just five minutes remaining when Ball struck his equaliser at Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium made it even more satisfying – but the story didn’t end there.

At the start of November, Ball’s effort made the final ten in the running for the ‘most beautiful’ goal of the year – with the 2015 winner set to follow James Rodriguez’s stunning volley for Colombia at the World Cup.

We caught up with Ball to hear more about his nomination and how he hopes to make the final three to attend January’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, where the winner of the Puskas Award will be announced…

JOE: How did you feel when you got the news?

DB: I’m over the moon just to be in the final ten. To be around the calibre of players that are in the shortlist is a huge achievement in itself for me.

David Ball

Talk us through the goal…

I just wanted to get into an opportunity to shoot. My back was turned, and I had to get past a couple of challenges.

But I managed to get the ball out of my feet and saw the keeper (Manchester United loanee Sam Johnstone) a bit further off his line than he should be, so I’ve gone for it and it’s dropped in the top corner.

It looked like a very instinctive goal

Yeah, I think the first part is as good as the actual finish – the way it opens up with the drag-backs to have the sight at goal.

Have you ever managed to recreate it?

I actually scored a similar finish about a week before on the training ground. So I thought ‘Why not try it on a Saturday?’ and it came off.

Burton Albion v Fleetwood Town - Sky Bet League Two Playoff Final

What was the reaction like at the club to the goal and the nomination?

I got a big round of applause when I got on the bus after the game, which was nice.

But I’ve also had plenty of stick, with the rest of the players calling me ‘Puskas’ and so on. There’s been a lot of banter about it.

Is it a career highlight?

Definitely. It’s something I’ll treasure forever and can tell my children in years to come.

Which is your favourite goal on the list?

I like the Messi goal, obviously. You’ve got to be special to beat six players and then finish. The Mexes one is also unbelievable technique.

But you’d put your own finish above Messi’s, right?

Yeah, I’d like to think. Just the whole flow of the goal, the smoothness of it – I’d like to think that it’s up there.

If Messi did it then it’d be all over the place, wouldn’t it?

If you make the final three, what will you look forward to most about the ceremony?

It’d be a big honour for me to go and represent a relatively small club like Fleetwood, meet the other players and soak up the experience.

Would you buy a new tuxedo?

Yeah, probably a Next one as my partner’s mum works in Next so I’d get a bit of money off.

Something flashy like Messi usually wears?

I’d go for simple – nice black tuxedo. I don’t want to be ‘out there’, I’d get a lot of stick in the dressing room.

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014

Impressed by David’s goal? You can vote for him to win the Puskas Award here (voting ends on November 30th) and see the rest of the nominations here.