The FIFA Puskas Award is an accolade given to the man or woman who is deemed to have scored the most aesthetically beautiful goal of the year. The aptly-named award pays tribute to Ferenc Puskas, former star of Budapest Honved, Real Madrid and the Hungary national team.
The award has only been in existence since 2009, which means today we will look at seven of the awards nine winners. The two who predate our seven are Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, and Hamit Altintop in 2010.
Here are the last 7 Puskas Award winners: Where are they now?
7. Olivier Giroud - Chelsea
The most recent winner of FIFA’s Puskas Award was French centre-forward Olivier Giroud. A familiar face to followers of both the French and English game, Giroud has been playing in the Premier League since 2012, and has won 71 caps for France since 2011. The 31-year-old former Montpellier forward isn’t the quickest, but he’s strong, clever on the ball and a real threat in the air. His Puskas Award winning strike came playing for Arsenal against Crystal Palace in January 2017. Having been involved early in the move, Giroud got himself into the box and put a speculative scorpion kick past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Somewhat ironically, Giroud’s goal didn’t even win the Premier League Goal of the Month, missing out to Andy Carroll - or the Goal of the Season, missing out to Emre Can. Giroud is still playing in the Premier League, but he swapped Arsenal for Chelsea in January.
6. Mohd Faiz Subri - Penang FA
Malaysian football player Mohd Faiz Subri, an attacking midfielder for Penang FA in the Malaysian Super League, holds his 2016 FIFA Puskas Award plaque following his arrival from Zurich at...
Goals by Lionel Messi for Argentina and Neymar for Barcelona were nominated for the 2016 Puskas Award, but the winner wasn’t such a household name. Mohd Faiz Subri claimed the award with almost 60% of the overall vote for his outrageous free-kick in the Malaysian Super League. Whilst playing for Penang against Pahang, Subri hit an audacious free-kick from range. The ball took a wicked flight, swerving right and dipping into the top corner at the last second. Subri is still at Penang, and scored 2 goals in 22 games last season.
5. Wendell Lira - Professional FIFA Player & YouTuber
Brazilian striker Wendell Lira began his career in Brazil’s top flight as a teenager, but he could never establish himself there and soon fell through the leagues. It was during his time in the regional Campeonato Goiano in a match against Atletico that Lira scored a well-worked overhead kick after a dinked through ball which bamboozled the opposition defence. Lira was a free agent when he won the award, but it prompted second tier Villa Nova to offer him a deal. He played just 4 games for the club, before retiring aged 27. Now aged 29, Lira has been playing FIFA professionally and running a YouTube channel with half a million subscribers for more than a year now.
4. James Rodriguez - Bayern Munich
James Rodriguez of Bayern Muenchen passes during a training session prior to the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final first leg match against Sevilla at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on...
Back in 2014, it seemed like James Rodriguez could do no wrong. He went to the 2014 World Cup with Colombia as dark horses, but the country progressed to the Quarter-Finals, with Rodriguez winning the Golden Boot and making the Team of the Tournament. He later made a big move to Real Madrid, and his knockout round strike against Uruguay won the Puskas Award. The goal itself saw Rodriguez control the ball on his chest on the half turn, before thundering a volley in off the underside of the crossbar. At Real though, things haven’t quite worked out for the Colombian. After a few up-down seasons, he is currently on-loan at Bayern Munich, where his form has improved since the appointment of Jupp Heynckes.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy
England fans in particular won’t need any reminder of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 2013 Puskas Award winning overhead kick for Sweden. Ibrahimovic scored all four goals in a 4-2 win for the Swedes, and his stunning 35-yard bicycle kick saw off competition from Nemanja Matic and Neymar to win the prestigious award. Zlatan was playing for PSG at the time, and a few years later he headed over to England joining Manchester United. He left Manchester United for MLS outfit LA Galaxy last month, where he scored another outrageous goal on his debut, hitting a 45-yard half volley which looped over the Los Angeles FC goalkeeper.
2. Miroslav Stoch - Slavia Prague
Ahmed Ibrahim Alyassi of Al Nasr is tackled by Miroslav Stoch of Al Ain during the Presidents Cup Quarter Final match between Al Ain and Al Nasr at Al Maktoum Stadium on May 23, 2015 in...
With the most resounding victory in Puskas award history, Miroslav Stoch won a whopping 78% of the overall vote, with Radamel Falcao second with only 15%. If you want to win the Puskas award, we’d suggest a volley or bicycle kick is the best method, and it was the former that proved successful for Stoch. During his time at Fenerbahce, the former Chelsea man channelled his inner Paul Scholes and struck a floated corner on the volley, which flew past the goalkeeper. The long-range effort was a deserved winner, but Stoch left Fenerbahce last summer, joining Slavia Prague.
1. Neymar - PSG
Brazilian superstar Neymar has been tipped for greatness since the age of 13 or 14. Rarely has a player had a weight of expectation put on their shoulders from such a young age and actually come good. He was a teenager and still playing for Santos when he won the Puskas award, thanks to a wonderful solo goal. The game itself was a remarkable one, seeing one of the brightest lights of Brazil’s past, Ronaldinho, up against their star of the future, Neymar. Ronaldinho got a hat-trick, whilst Neymar scored twice, as Santos blew a 3-0 lead to lose 5-4. Two years later, Neymar joined Barcelona, but after four very good seasons at the Camp Nou, he became the world’s most expensive footballer in a move to PSG last summer.