The winner of FIFA's annual Puskas Award for the goal of the year has been announced, with Santos' Neymar claiming the top spot. As a Manchester United fan it pains me to say this, but Rooney's goal was not the best goal of the year and didn't deserve to win.
I'm not playing down how good the goal is. Watching Rooney score was incredible, it was the turning point of the season. Rooney was forgiven for his dalliances with other clubs earlier in the season including City, who the goal was against if you didn't know. He couldn't have got over his goalless dry period in a more spectacular or significant fashion: an incredible overhead kick that required vision, timing, balance and skill. So what if it came off his shin, to get there in the first place was enough.
What followed was a hideous reaction from the media, they took the moment and ramped up the hype and turned a great goal into a sycophantic mess. The platitudes were simply too much. Which is exactly why Messi shouldn't win the Puskas award either. Everyone knows that Messi is the footballing Jesus. The Ballon D'Or may as well just stop running as a competition because no one will ever come close to being as good as he is. Messi winning this competition would just be dull, exactly like it will be when Bore-celona (know what I mean?) win the Champions League again and look at what they eat!.
What followed was a hideous reaction from the media, they took the moment and ramped up the hype and turned a great goal into a sycophantic mess
The main reason however that Messi and Rooney didn't win the Puskas award, is that Neymar's goal is simply better. I've watched all three nominations repeatedly, and there's no doubt about it. Neymar's is the best, it's twenty seconds of footballing bliss. He's the architect of the goal, skins player after player, pulls off an outrageous trick on the edge of the box and finishes with a side foot over the goalkeeper as he's being brought down from all angles. Messi has the tricks and pace in his finish and Rooney has the vision and timing, but Neymar has all these and more. It's in his ability to run round players, fearless imagination to see the tricks and then to have the confidence and audacity to execute them.
Looking at the start of the play, would the other two goals exist without help from Iniesta or Nani? Clearly not, and you could argue that Neymar passes to a team in the build up to his goal. But this is exactly the point, Neymar is the architect as well as the finisher. He's not got on the end of a killer ball, he changed play from comfortable possession into a high pace attack, exploiting the space for himself.
The comments on Fifa's website on the goals are well worth a look, my favourites include; “Messi is the best player and scored the best goal,” from someone in China, which has a lovely Barca Communism ring to it, and “BIKECYCLE KICKS ARE THE BEST BUT ROONEY'S THE BEST AT IT. MANCHESTER UNITED ROCKS!!!!!” I'm so glad this commenter, who I'm not saying is definitely Sepp Blatter but you never know, came into the voting process with an open mind and a great grasp of English.
Decide for yourself here
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