ICYMI: Lionel Messi faces David Ball fight for Puskas Award


Last year it was all about Steph Roche’s sublime piece of skill for Peamount United, and this time it’s Fleetwood striker David Ball’s turn to take on the best in the 2015 Puskas Awards.

The 25-year-old is up against Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, while Philippe Mexes and American star Carli Lloyd are also in the hunt to claim the prize in January.

Let’s have a look at some of the contenders:

David Ball – Fleetwood v Preston – 12/1

There isn’t often much to get excited about a League One contest between Fleetwood and Preston, and for much of last March’s clash, that was very much the case.

Step forward David Ball.

With five minutes to go, and the Cod Army trailing 1-0 at Highbury, Ball twists and turns his way out of trouble, before an audacious, inch-perfect chip to invoke memories of Eric Cantona’s iconic goal for Manchester United.

Lionel Messi – Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao – 6/5

Picking the ball up just inside the Athletic Bilbao half, tight to the touchline and with his back to goal, for Messi to score just 14 seconds later is testament to his wizardry.

Not only is this ultimate Lionel Messi, it’s in a cup final against one of Spain’s strongest outfits.

No wonder it’s the favourite.

Marcel Ndjeng – Paderborn v Bolton – 6/1

Marcel Ndjeng isn’t exactly a household name, but the Paderborn midfielder scored the type of volley every kid has dreamt of producing on the playground.

The 33-year-old stole the pre-season headlines in a friendly against Bolton with a first-time hit from near the half-way line.

It seemed to travel for an eternity, but it travelled, and travelled, and whooshed its way into the Wanderers goal. Incredible.

Esteban Ramirez – Herediano v Deportivo Saprissa – 8/1

We don’t hear much about the Costa Rica Premier Division, and that could be a crying shame if there are more strikes like this flying in.

Picking up a loose ball without letting it bounce, Ramirez chests the ball up, then heads it up with his second touch before his third touch, well. Let the video show you what his third touch does.

The ball never hits the ground from the moment the 28-year-old collects it.

Philippe Mexes – AC Milan v Inter – 9/1

This would be a bigger contender were it not for the fact it came in a pre-season friendly.

Nevertheless, if you are going to beat your most detested rivals, a scissor-kick from outside the box is a decent way to do so.

To do so with a first-time hit from a corner is even better, isn’t that right Philippe?

Carlos Tevez – Juventus v Parma – 10/1

Carlos Tevez is not really known for his pace over a 50-yard dash, but the Argentine swept a Parma defence aside for Juventus last season.

It’s somewhat reminiscent of another Serie A classic – George Weah for AC Milan – as Tevez picks the ball up in his own half, before a wonderful combination of pace, agility, skill and composure leaves Parma defenders utterly flummoxed.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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