The FIFA Puskás Award is a prestigious recognition given by FIFA to the player – irrespective of gender or physical ability – recognised for scoring the most visually remarkable and beautiful goal of the year. This honour pays tribute to the legendary Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskás.
Now, let's delve into the early nominees for the 2024 Puskas award.
2024 FIFA Puskas award odds projection – Top five contenders so far
We start off with a true goal for the ages, which came at an incensed Goodison Park on Sunday 26 November, live in front of Sky Sports' ever-watchful cameras.
Alejandro Garnacho vs Everton (Favourite)
Our projected odds/probability: 1/3 (75%)
Given recent events behind the scenes, as their hosts Everton played their first match since a 10-point deduction for PSR breaches, Manchester United needed something early to stun the home crowd and prevent them from translating a tumultuous pre-match atmosphere into the game itself.
They got their wish in the third minute. The sequence initiated with Lindelof delivering a diagonal ball to Rashford, positioned on the right wing. Simultaneously, Dalot executed an underlapping run, and Rashford threaded a through ball behind Everton's defence. Although Dalot's cross missed every United player in the penalty box, Garnacho had other plans. Anticipating the ball going behind him, he skillfully ran backward, positioning himself perfectly for an exquisite bicycle kick.
He caught it in midair unleashing something of utter beauty into the far-right corner of the Everton net. Even two Pickfords wouldn't have coped. What set this goal apart was Garnacho's impeccable contact with the ball using his feet. At this point it's hard to envisage anything surpassing his effort in terms of technique and aesthetics, even with 25 rounds of the league campaign remaining.
Why history is on Garnacho's side for the Puskas Award
He's a certainty for November's Goal of the Month with BBC's Match of the Day, but a far bigger honour could well lie ahead. And while the Puskas Award adds some unpredictability, given that it covers goals from every recognised competition in existence, goals widely seen in English speaking countries have had a competitive edge in the past.
Much like the Ballon d'Or, which saw Lionel Messi's World Cup dream trump Erling Haaland's goal-packed treble, media hype can be a great influential factor when it comes to the final decision. Manchester United's global popularity aside, it is no coincidence that Garnacho's goal would be the sixth winner from Premier League action in eight years if it scoops the prize.
Federico Dimarco vs Frosinone
Our projected odds/probability: 9/5 (35.7%)
Dimarco's goal against Frosinone, which came just a fortnight before Garnacho's golden moment, stands out in particular as the only present threat to the Argentine's strike. Different in a lot of ways to the new Puskas Award favourite, it arrived from an impressive 56 metres away. And even more remarkably, it originated from a crossing position.
While some may argue that Dimarco was attempting a cross, his deliberate positioning before the shot suggests a genuine attempt to score. After receiving the ball from a teammate, he embarked on a run, noticing the opposing goalkeeper out of position. Displaying brilliant technique, Dimarco unleashed a shot with his laces, witnessing the ball soar across the entire half before finding the net.
Eduardo Bella vs Brazil
Our projected odds/probability: 5/1 (16.7%)
Anyone acquainted with Olivier Giroud's 2017 Puskas award-winning goal, featuring a flicked volley with his left foot, understands the level of difficulty in such scoring. Venezuela's Eduardo Bella aimed to join the ranks of Puskas Award nominees with his remarkable goal.
In a match against formidable Brazil, Venezuela found themselves trailing when Jefferson Savarino delivered a rather average cross. This less-than-ideal cross positioned Eduardo Bella, requiring him to adjust his body for contact with the ball.
However, Bella not only made contact, but left the Brazilian goalkeeper astounded, frozen in place as the ball sailed into the net. His bicycle kick carried echoes of Giroud's flicked volley, adding an extra layer of flair.
Rahimo FC vs RCB – Burkina Faso League
Our projected odds/probability: 15/2 (11.8%)
Rahimo FC, a team in the Burkina Faso League, witnessed a remarkable moment during their match against local rivals RCB. In a crucial moment, Rahimo FC's striker executed an incredible flicked volley from nearly 20 yards, with his back turned to the goal.
During a game where Rahimo FC was behind, a defender sent the ball towards the central striker. Despite being closely marked by the opposing defender, the striker noticed the rival goalkeeper out of position. Instead of controlling the ball conventionally, he opted for a skillful volley, flicking it into the goalpost. This extraordinary feat showcased exceptional concentration and accuracy.
Harry Kane vs Darmstadt – Bundesliga
Our projected odds/probability: 8/1 (11.1%)
In a notable performance for Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich, star striker Harry Kane showcased his prowess with a hat-trick against Darmstadt. One of the highlights of this remarkable feat was Kane's goal from his own half.
Around the 68th minute, Bayern Munich gained possession near their 18-yard box. Thomas Muller passed the ball to Harry Kane, positioned just behind the half-way line. Recognizing the opponent's goalpost unguarded, Kane, without hesitation, took a shot from the center of the pitch, landing the ball into an empty net.
This extraordinary goal by Kane could find a significant place in the rankings, though right now, it looks like a straight battle between Dimarco and Garnacho.