There is no doubt that the turn of the year can imbue football supporters with fresh hope, perhaps that their teams can resurrect their fortunes after shaky starts or even continue the momentum of a title push. The period can also have an impact on players’ mindsets, including the setting of new objectives for themselves and their clubs, and maybe even a switch in the upcoming transfer window.
And in the case of ten players in particular - Arjen Robben, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Hamit Altintop, Kumi Yokoyama, Lionel Messi, Linus Hallenius, Matthew Burrows, Neymar, Samir Nasri and Siphiwe Tshabalala - the date 10 January 2011 will be written in bold print in their diaries. Each of the above has a goal in the running for the FIFA Puskas Award 2010 and, with the online voting by FIFA.com users already closed, all they can do now is wait until the winner is announced at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich.
By the close of voting on 13 December, more than a million votes had been registered for this year’s prestigious prize. It will be the second edition of an honour first won by Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, thanks to his long-range thunderbolt for Manchester United against Porto in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.
Among the varying strikes selected by the FIFA Football Committee are the outrageous and acrobatic finishes by Burrows and Hallenius, from Northern Ireland and Sweden respectively, as well as mazy and explosive dribbles from Messi, Nasri, Neymar and Japan’s Yokoyama – the only women’s player in the running. The Committee also found room for two fierce yet pinpoint drives from distance by Van Bronckhorst and Tshabalala, both at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, as well as a stunning solo effort from Robben for Bayern Munich which combined pace, skill and composure in front of goal.
And though voting may have closed, that does not mean you can no longer enjoy this stunning array of top-quality strikes. Simply click on the link to the FIFA Puskas Award on the right-hand side to watch these 2010 classics again and again, as well as taking the opportunity to have your say on which strike you appreciate most and why.