Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Mohamed Salah are all included in a stellar field for the FIFA Puskas Award.
The prize recognises the best goal scored over the past year in world football and previous winners include Olivier Giroud, James Rodriguez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Neymar. Fans will vote for their favourite goal via the FIFA website after the shortlist was announced as part of the Best FIFA Football Awards nominations. Messi has been overlooked for the Best FIFA Men’s Player accolade, with Ronaldo, Salah and Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric in the running. But his wonderful World Cup goal for Argentina against Nigeria in St Petersburg grants the Barcelona superstar his sixth nomination for a prize he is yet to win. Salah’s solo strike in Liverpool’s Merseyside derby draw with Everton last December is counted as the standout from his 44 in all competitions for the Premier League side in 2017-18. Ronaldo and Bale face off in a battle of the Champions League overhead kicks – the Portugal icon’s effort against current employers Juventus in the quarter-finals and Bale’s acrobatic finish to help down Salah’s Liverpool in the final. The World Cup features heavily, with Russia’s Denis Cheryshev, France’s Benjamin Pavard and Ronaldo’s international team-mate Ricardo Quaresma nominated for providing three of the champagne moments of Russia 2018. The Puskas Award has previously recognised more unheralded players and Riley McGree’s improbable scorpion kick for Newcastle Jets in the A-League would appear to have a very good chance of success after becoming a worldwide viral hit. FIFA Puskas Award nominees: Gareth Bale – Real Madrid v Liverpool Denis Cheryshev – Russia v Croatia Lazaros Christodoulopoulos – AEK Athens v Olympiacos Giorgian de Arrascaeta – Cruzeiro v America Mineiro Riley McGree – Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City Lionel Messi – Argentina v Nigeria Benjamin Pavard – France v Argentina Ricardo Quaresma – Portugal v Iran Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus v Real Madrid Mohamed Salah – Liverpool v Everton