The nominees for the 2023 Puskas Award have been announced, and the shortlist is packed with 11 of the most skillful and audacious goals from around the world this year.
The contenders have been plucked from a wide and diverse variety of competitions, with goals raining in from the U.S. Open Cup, AFC Under-20 Asian Cup and Spanish LaLiga 2, among others. There are also three nominees from the Women's World Cup, which produced a glut of spectacular goals.
Now forming part of The Best FIFA Football Awards gala in January, the Puskas Award is bestowed upon the scorer of the most beautiful goal anywhere in the previous calendar year -- with the only stipulation being that the goal must have been scored on camera. An initial public vote whittles the list down to a final three before FIFA's panel of experts decides on an outright winner.
Last year's Puskas Award was claimed by Marcin Oleksy, a Polish amputee player who beat the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Dimitri Payet and Richarlison to emerge victorious. Using a crutch to balance, the 36-year-old took the plaudits for his amazing overhead kick for Warta Poznan in an amputee league game against Stal Rzeszow.
Here is a list of the 11 contenders on the 2023 Puskas Award shortlist, presented in alphabetical order.
Álvaro Barreal (FC Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds, U.S. Open Cup, June 6, 2023)
The second goal in Cincinnati's 3-1 quarterfinal victory over the Riverhounds, Barreal increased his side's lead with a leaping volley that saw him return a high, looping corner into the back of the net with aplomb.
Linda Caicedo (Germany vs. Colombia, FIFA Women's World Cup, July 30, 2023)
ARE YOU SERIOUS LINDA CAICEDO?! 😱— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 30, 2023
What a goal for Colombia 🇨🇴🔥 pic.twitter.com/rR0absMYmt
A memorable goal in a surprise group stage win for Colombia, Caicedo opened the scoring by mopping up a loose ball in the Germany penalty area, shimmying between two markers and curling a perfect shot into the top corner.
Julio Enciso (Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City, Premier League, May 24, 2023)
Scored on the final day of the 2022-23 Premier League season, Brighton signed off with a fabulous team goal against champions-elect Man City that culminated in a brilliant strike from distance from 19-year-old forward Enciso -- securing them a place in the Europa League.
Kang Seong-Jin (Jordan U-20 vs. South Korea U-20, AFC U20 Asian Cup, March 5, 2023)
Coming in a 2-0 victory for South Korea in the group stage, Kang's virtuoso goal began in his own half and ended with him weaving through the Jordan defence, bypassing four opponents and ripping a powerful shot into the net before the goalkeeper could even flinch.
THAT'S ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT 🤩— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) August 16, 2023
GOLAZOOO SAM KERR 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/Gnts261nW2
Although the co-hosts were ultimately sent tumbling frim the World Cup in the semifinals, they at least bowed out having scored one of the best goals of the entire tournament. Indeed, Kerr's equaliser at 1-1 was a phenomenal 25-yard solo strike on the counter-attack.
Brian Lozano (Atlas vs. America, Liga MX Clausura, Feb. 26, 2023)
There's long range and then there's long range, which is precisely where Lozano scored from in Atlas' 2-2 draw against Club America, arrowing a precision shot into the top corner from 35 yards out.
Guilherme Madruga (Novorizontino vs. Botafogo, Serie B, June 27, 2023)
DEU CERTO, BRASIL! #MadrugaPuskas ⚽️🚲— Brasileirão Betano - Série B (@BrasileiraoB) September 22, 2023
O volante Guilherme Madruga, do @botafogofsa, é um dos finalistas do Prêmio Puskás! Madruga marcou de bicicleta, de fora da área, na partida entre Botafogo e Novorizontino, válida pela 14ª rodada da Série B.
VOTE ▶️ https://t.co/2mkf39XyxZ pic.twitter.com/lyh6EV57pg
Botafogo mustered a narrow 1-0 win on the road against Novorizontino in the Brazilian second division courtesy of a truly outrageous bicycle kick from Madruga, who went big from outside the area. It was certainly worthy of being a decider at any level.
Ivan Morante (UD Ibiza vs. Burgos CF, LaLiga 2, March 25, 2023)
💫 ¡El 𝗴𝗼𝗹𝗮𝘇𝗼 de @ivaan_morante ante el @Burgos_CF, nominado al Premio #Puskas de la @FIFAcom!— UD Ibiza (@ibizaud) September 22, 2023
👉 Vótalo aquí: https://t.co/zIsoz76JBT#VamosIbiza #SOYDELIBIZA https://t.co/EYHiNlG5HV pic.twitter.com/lUyU371l4A
It took 68 minutes but Morante's opening goal in Ibiza's 2-0 win over Burgos was most definitely worth the wait, as the midfielder juggled a loose ball on the edge of the area before wrapping his left foot around a delicious 25-yard volley.
Nuno Santos (Sporting CP vs. Boavista, Primeira Liga, March 12, 2023)
Sporting romped to a 3-0 victory over Boavista in the Portuguese top flight in a game that saw them take the lead after just 17 minutes when Santos applied a cute rabona finish to a bout of similarly fleet-footed approach play.
Askhat Tagybergen (Kazakhstan vs. Denmark, Euro 2024 qualifiers, March 26, 2023)
Kazakhstan pulled off a shock 3-2 victory over Denmark thanks to two quick goals in the last four minutes of the game -- the first of which being a superb 86th-minute equaliser from Tagybergen, who picked the ball up on the far corner of the penalty area and lashed it home from 30 yards.
Bia Zaneratto (Brazil vs. Panama, FIFA Women's World Cup, July 24, 2023)
BRAZILIAN SOCCER AT ITS FINEST 🇧🇷— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 24, 2023
Bia Zaneratto makes it three for Brazil 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/DT0c5838Rk
The third and final entrant from the Women's World Cup is the phenomenal goal scored by Zaneratto during Brazil's 4-0 thrashing of Panama in the group stage. A slick exchange of passes and intricate flicks saw the Selecao quickly carve through the penalty area before a suitably emphatic finish was applied.