The race to the FIFA Puskás Award for the goal of the year is well and truly underway, with fans from around the world currently casting their votes to decide which of the ten shortlisted goals will receive the accolade at The Best FIFA Football Awards™ on 9 January 2017.
Over the next few days at FIFA.com, we will be taking a close look at each of the ten strikes, starting today with some acrobatic magic from a Spain international.
The November 2015 friendly between Spain and England looked to be heading for a goalless draw when up popped Roja right-back Mario Gaspar to opening the scoring in the most spectacular fashion.
The Villarreal man was playing only his second match for his country, having marked his debut in Spain’s final UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier against Ukraine by scoring the winner. No doubt inspired to go and do it again, the intrepid newcomer ventured forward to the edge of the England area, where he was spotted by Cesc Fabregas, who chipped a looping pass in his direction. Keeping his eye right on the ball, Gaspar checked his run and spun round before launching himself into the air as it approached. Still swivelling in mid-air, he made the cleanest of connections with his right foot, sending the ball arrowing into the far corner of the net, beyond the despairing dive of visiting keeper Joe Hart. It was a goal of which any star striker would have been proud, and he scored it without even checking where Hart was stationed.
Still flat on his back, Gaspar began celebrating his goal, as his team-mates arrived on the scene to offer their congratulations, with provider Fabregas the first to hug him.
“Cesc played it to me, I hit it and it went in,” the still disbelieving goalscorer told the Spanish FA’s website afterwards. “I don’t usually score goals like that, but let’s hope there’s more to come. I need to make the most of this run.” His wonder goal even earned the appreciation of leading English lights such as Gary Lineker, who described it as “fabulous”.
“It was an incredible moment for me and I’ll never forget it,” added Gaspar, who has made three appearances for La Roja to date.
So which do you think is the pick of the ten goals? Vote for Mario Gaspar’s sumptuous strike and you might just give him another memorable moment at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016.
You have until 2 December to choose your favourite goal from the list of contenders.