Messi leads nominees for Puskas Award

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award that credits the finest goal scored in world football during a calendar year.

Messi, who is also in contention for a fifth Ballon d’Or at FIFA’s January ceremony in Zurich, was voted through from a 10-goal selection thanks to a stunning solo effort in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey final triumph against Athletic Bilbao in May.

A goal against Barcelona – Alessandro Florenzi’s long-range strike for Roma in this season’s Champions League – and Wendell Lira’s bicycle kick for Goianesia against Atletico Goianiense in Brazil’s Campeonato Goiano complete the three final contenders.

Since its launch in 2009, Messi has been shortlisted for the Puskas Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012 without ever finishing in the top three.

Messi, Florenzi and Wendell Lira are vying to succeed Colombia and Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez, who collected the 2014 gong for his stunning World Cup volley against Uruguay.

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