Hamit Altintop (Turkey v Kazakhstan, 2010)

Poor Matty Burrows – how things may have changed had it not been for Hamit Altintop.

The Glentoran striker, whose backheel volley was watched by millions on YouTube, missed out on FIFA’s Puskas Award for goal of the year thanks to the Turkish midfielder’s amazing strike against Kazakhstan.

One of Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid signings last summer – not purely on the basis of this hit, of course – Altintop looks back on his goal with a modest smile. “As the ball was coming towards me I wasn’t thinking about anything other than hitting it towards goal,” he says.

Sometimes in football you know you’ve hit the sweet spot. That was such a moment.”

And some sweet spot it was. A lofted corner from Emre Belozoglu floated to Altintop 
at the edge of the box; the next second, the ball was hitting the roof of the net. Even though his fierce right peg was well known, his team-mates’ reaction was one of amazement.

“Yes, it’s true I’ve always had a powerful shot,” says Altintop. “In training today I almost broke Iker Casillas’ hand! But that goal was a one-off. I don’t think I could hit it the same way again if I tried 100 times.”

Even so, his Puskas Award  takes pride of place at home. “I’m proud because it represents all goals scored that year,” adds Turkey’s very own Mr ‘Golden Ball’ – the direct translation 
of a‘Altintop’ into English.

“I don’t think I’ll win it again,” he says with a smile. 
“Still, I can try though...”

And here is Matty Burrows' effort from the same year...

Words: Sefa Atay. Illustration: German Aczel. From the April 2012 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!

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