Who should win the Puskas Award 2016? FourFourTwo decides
10. Lionel Messi vs USA (June 21, 2016)
Messi’s shot from 25 yards out arrowed unerringly past goalkeeper Brad Guzan and into the top corner
The Argentine magician will have felt hard done by when he failed to scoop the 2015 award for his stunning effort against Athletic Bilbao, but he’s unlikely to make amends by topping this year’s vote.
Nevertheless, this was a brilliantly struck free-kick in his country’s Copa America Centenario semi-final against hosts USA; Messi’s shot from 25 yards out arrowed unerringly past goalkeeper Brad Guzan and into the top corner to double Argentina’s lead, with team-mate Gonzalo Higuain going on to bag a brace and seal a thumping 4-0 victory.
9. Hlompho Kekana vs Cameroon (Mar 26, 2016)
Around 60 yards from goal, he drives a fierce shot into the back of the net with minimal backlift
Winning possession with your first touch and going for goal with your second may hint at some sort of egomanical glory-hunt, but Kekana pulled off this feat from inside his own half against Cameroon in March.
The South Africa international pinches the ball after a sloppy piece of control from Tony Tchani and, around 60 yards from goal, immediately drives a fierce shot into the back of the net with minimal backlift. The keeper was well off his line and there have been plenty of strikes of this ilk, but this was a particularly perfect hit from the Mamelodi Sundowns man.
8. Neymar vs Villarreal (Nov 8, 2015)
There’s still plenty of work to do at this stage, but the Brazilian makes it all look easy
Today’s Barcelona might not dominate like Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka edition, but this team certainly know how to inflict damage on the counter-attack – 10 seconds was all it took for Luis Enrique’s men to work the ball from their own penalty area and score a goal at the other end in this meeting with Villarreal last year.
Neymar heads a clearance onto Luis Suarez and immediately sprints towards the box, where he receives the return pass after an unfortunate slip from Victor Ruiz. There’s still plenty of work to do at this stage, but the Brazilian makes it all look easy as he flicks the ball over his head, turns full circle and lashes a volley past Alphonse Areola.
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