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Puskas Award: Lionel Messi vs David Ball for ‘most beautiful goal award’

As the international break descends upon us, the 2015 shortlist for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award has been released, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Fleetwood Town’s David Ball among the 10 candidates up for goal of the year.

While the Argentinian captain is no stranger to the limelight, a nomination for one of football’s most illustrious awards will be quite a shock for Fleetwood Town striker David Ball. Plying his trade in the third tier of English football, Ball was a youth player at Manchester City once upon a time – with his extraordinary chip against Preston North End in March besting anything even the Premier League had to offer this year.

“I couldn’t really grasp it at first,” he told Press Association Sport. “It’s just a crazy, crazy thing. You don’t expect, at my level, to be considered for such a prestigious award.”
His entry is certainly gathering momentum, with Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy one to show his support on Twitter.

Ball finds himself pitted against the likes of Carlos Tevez, Philippe Mexes and one Leo Messi, whose stunning solo goal against Athletic Bilbao adds his name to the annual shortlist for the fourth time since the award’s inception in 2009.

The other former City player on the list, the more recognised Tevez, scored a similarly slaloming solo goal, taking on the entire Parma defence before slotting home. Now at Boca Juniors, the 31-year-old is one of four South American players on the shortlist.

Esteban Ramírez of Costa Rica is the Central American representative, with his juggle and volley sure to run the other candidates close for top spot.

AC Milan defender Mexes, known for his acrobatics in front of goal, makes the cut with an outrageous volley straight from a corner against fierce rivals Inter. His strange celebration won’t see him win too many accolades though!

The USA are represented by Carli Lloyd of the women’s national team, with her long range effort in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final against Japan completing a stunning 16-minute hat-trick and helping her side become world champions for a third time.

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