Six goals more deserving of the Puskas award than Mo Salah's against Everton
Mohamed Salah was awarded the Puskas award last night
It was one of many bizarre decisions made at FIFA's The Best ceremony on Monday night. For instance, Thibaut Courtois was named the Best Goalkeeper in the World, but didn't make it into the FIFA World XI. Mo Salah was also nominated for the The Best award, yet didn't make it into the FIFA World XI.
But perhaps the most baffling decision of the night was to award Mo Salah the Puskas award, for this goal. It wasn't even his best goal of last season, let alone worthy of being crowned the best goal scored by anyone. Put it this way, if that goal is award worthy, Arjen Robben is due about 200 awards.
Here are eight goals scored last season more worthy of the award. Disclaimer: I've definitely forgotten plenty of good goals, so if your favourite isn't on the list, you're just going to have to deal with that.
1. Victor Wanyama vs Liverpool
In one of the most exciting Premier League games of last season, Spurs' midfield monster unleashed a rare rocket to level the scoring at Anfield after conceding to Mo Salah in the third minute. It was hit so straight, so hard, and most importantly clipped the bar on its way in, adding hugely to its aesthetic value. It would have been a worthy winner.
2. Mohamed Salah vs Spurs
Not to be too harsh on Salah after his most prolific season ever, I thought I'd allow this goal onto the list. In the same game as Wanyama's goal, this weaving run and near impossible finish from Salah gave Liverpool a lead in injury time. The forward's timing of his turns, taking advantage of the tiny gap left by Jan Vertonghen, showed just why defences struggled to contain him. How he managed to lift the ball over Hugo Lloris with seemingly no space to do so should not go unnoticed either.
3. Christian Eriksen vs Chelsea
Another Spurs goal from last season, not quite as good as Wanyama's, but equally astounding when viewed at full speed. The touch to set himself up, and the technique of the shot, were both perfect. Then the trajectory of the shot, too. As it rose into the air, we all assumed it was flying into row Z. But as it dipped, Willy Caballero was as shocked as everyone watching, as the flight of the ball took a dramatic dip, clipped the bar, and nestled into the net. Caballero was literally floored by the flight of the ball, just as fans were by the sheer absurdity of what they'd just witnessed.
4. Benjamin Pavard vs Argentina
The World Cup was marvellous wasn't it? England were good, the goals were flying in from all angles, and the sun was blazing. There truly were some fantastic goals scored throughout the tournament, this being pick of the bunch. Pavard's technique was flawless; the spin he got on the ball, and the flight it took into the top corner, made it the sort of goal you had to watch over and over again in order to appreciate its brilliance.
5. Gareth Bale vs Liverpool
On the biggest stage of them all, Gareth Bale, having come off the bench, pulled off one of the greatest goals ever scored. An under-appreciated aspect of this goal is the deflection Marcelo's cross took off Mané - the readjustment Bale had to make in a split-second makes it significantly harder to pull off. As it looped into the net, and sealed a third consecutive Champions League for Real Madrid, you knew you'd witnessed a goal that would go down in history.
6. Riley McGree vs Melbourne City
The lowest profile match, yet probably the goal most deserving of the award, this goal. I'd never heard of Riley McGree, you probably hadn't either, but when this goal surfaced across social media, it was immediately touted as a potential Puskas winner. A scorpion kick is a rare sight in football, which is no surprise given how difficult they are to pull off. But McGree made this look absolutely effortless. It was instinctive, yet perfect. The one-two, the choice of shot, the trajectory. All absolutely flawless.