Brazilian forward Neymar enjoyed every minute of the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011 Gala, with the culmination of a perfect evening coming when he made off with the FIFA Puskas Award for scoring, in the eyes of the experts and over 1.5 million internet users, the best goal of 2011. FIFA.com spoke to the happy-go-lucky star after he picked up his prize.
FIFA.com: What went through your mind when you heard your name being read out?
Neymar: I was almost in a state of shock (laughs). I'm delighted to have won the award, though, and I’m very grateful to all my team-mates for their help in what’s been a wonderful year. I’d also like to thank God and my family, friends and colleagues because they’ve helped me a lot.
Talk us through that winning goal again.
I think it’s the best goal I’ve ever scored. I picked up the ball on the left, went past two opponents and laid the ball off to a team-mate. We played a great one-two and I managed to wriggle clear of two more opponents and put the ball away. It was just about the perfect move.
Why have you decided to stay with Santos and turn down the chance to move to Europe?
I’m still very young I think, and it’s not the right time. I’m very happy in my country and at Santos. I hope 2012 will be another wonderful year and that I win a lot of things on a personal and team level.
Can you see yourself scoring a goal like that at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™?
Well, there’s a long way to go yet. I’ve got to keep working very hard, to be a better person and a better player too. It would be a dream to play in the World Cup, especially with it being at home.
Lionel Messi was voted the best player in the world again. Do you agree with the decision?
Yes, no question. He’s a fantastic player and I’m a big fan of his. My congratulations to him and I hope he keeps it up.