The Best FIFA Football Awards™

The Best FIFA Football Awards™

Thursday 17 December 2020

The Best FIFA Football Awards

Messi masterstroke wows opposing fans

  • Lionel Messi once again nominated for FIFA Puskás Award
  • Wonder goal came against Real Betis on 17 March 2019
  • Goal voted into final three

It should come as no surprise to see a Lionel Messi strike among the ten goals shortlisted for this year’s FIFA Puskás Award. After all, the Argentinian has now been nominated for seven of the 11 Puskás awards – more than any other footballer on the planet.

And while the prize itself has so far eluded him, this year’s contender has the added distinction of being scored away from home and eliciting a rapturous ovation from the opposing fans.

The context

On 17 March 2019, league leaders Barcelona headed to Real Betis’ Benito Villamarin ground determined to make amends for a home defeat to the Seville club in the corresponding fixture earlier that season.

The Catalan side duly delivered with Messi pivotal once again. La Pulga had already scored two delightful goals when he sealed his hat-trick with the deftest of lobs that was one of 10 goals nominated for this year’s Puskás Award.

The 4-1 final scoreline all but wrapped up the title for Barça, who moved ten points clear of closest pursuers Atletico Madrid with just ten games remaining.

After effects

A fitting commentary

Great goals can also inspire great descriptions from commentators. This was how Cadena Ser described Messi’s goal: "The Villamarin crowd pay homage to your majestic work of art – to that subtle and adorable touch. With just the gentlest of caresses from the edge of the area, Messi floated a magical curling lob to once again leave his mark, and what a mark it is, on a match at the Villamarin. Barça have scored through this master, who once again rubbed the genie’s lamp to realise the impossible with a strike. What a lob, Leo!"

Crowd reaction

You are a home supporter and have just seen Messi put the visitors 4-1 up with his hat-trick. What do you do? Curse and shout insults, or rise from your seat and applaud wholeheartedly?

A dazzled keeper

Pau Lopez, who crossed swords with Messi in 2016, could not hide his astonishment.

What they said

“It was a privilege to have seen that. I’ve seen some great players down the years do some amazing things but never anyone who can keep producing it after so long. Maybe Pele in his time. That third goal was like something from a comic strip. I really liked how the crowd showed its appreciation.” Quique Setien, then manager of Real Betis

“It was really nice and I’m very grateful to the home fans for their reaction to my third goal. It’s much appreciated. I can’t recall opposition supporters giving me an ovation like that after scoring.” Lionel Messi after the wonder goal

FIFA Puskás Award

See also

FIFA Puskás Award

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