LONDON: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s incredible strike against England in midweek will not be among the contenders when FIFA’s Goal of the Year award is handed over in January writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The award, named in memory of the great Hungarian and Real Madrid hero of the 1950s and 1960s Ferenc Puskas, has been won in the past two years by Turkey’s Hamit Altintop, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil’s Neymar.
But Sweden captain Ibrahimovic is not on the current shortlist for the 2012 prize, to be awarded at the world federation’s annual gala in Zurich early in the new year.
That is sure to infuriate further his agent Mino Raiola who has already complained that voting in the FIFA World Player poll is politically manipulated to the detriment of his client.
On Wednesday night in Stockholm the Paris Saint-Germain showed remarkable powers of both quick-thinking and physical co-ordination as he punished a poor clearance attempt by England keeper Joe Hart with an angled, 30-metre overhead bicycle kick.
England captain Steven Gerrard, whose 100th international appearance was overshadowed by Ibrahimovic’s four-goal master class, described it as “the best goal I’ve ever seen.”
However, it came just too late for FIFA: voting for the 2012 award had been under way for about seven hours thus even a late exception was impossible.
A FIFA spokesman said: “The public voting procedure to nominate the best goal for the 2012 Puskas Award commenced on November 14 at 3pm CET on FIFA.com.
“As Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal was scored after the opening of the public voting system and given that a number of votes have already been cast for this year’s award, the select committee for the Puskas Award may not, at this stage, include an additional nominee to the already existing list of 10 goals nominated for this year’s award.”
Consolation for Ibrahimovic and Raiola is that, according to FIFA, his goal does qualify for possible inclusion the following year . . . unless there are 10 better in the next 12 months.
The 10 goals on the 2012 voting list are as follows:
Agyemang Badu (Ghana v Guinea, Feb 1), Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers, Jan 7), Radamel Falcao (At. Madrid v América de Cali, May 19), Eric Hassli (Toronto FC v Vancouver Whitecaps, May 16), Olivia Jimenez (Mexico v Switzerland, Aug 22), Gaston Mella (Nacional Potosí v The Strongest, Jan 29), Lionel Messi (Argentina v Brazil, Jun 9), Neymar (Santos v Internacional, Mar 7), Moussa Sow (Fenerbahce v Galatasaray, Mar 17) and Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce v Genclerbirligi, Mar 3).
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