Wendell Lira wins the FIFA Puskás Award 2015

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Monday, January 11, 2016

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Wendell Lira, a Brazilian striker, won the 2015 FIFA Puskás Award in Zürich on Monday. The Puskás Award is given to a football player voted by the public to have scored the best goal of the year.

Lira, who now plays for Vila Nova, scored a bicycle kick goal for Goianésia in a 2–1 victory on March 11. His goal won 46.7% of the vote, with about 1.6 million people voting for him. He won the award ahead of his idol, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, whose solo goal against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final won 33.3% of the vote. Alessandro Florenzi, who plays for AS Roma, scored a 50m long-range goal against FC Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League group stage match, came third with 7.1% of the vote.

When Lira’s name was announced he broke into tears. He said “It honestly feels like a dream.” Only 297 spectators were present in the stadium when Lira scored the goal in a regional championship of the second division. He added “I could never have guessed that it would change my life forever.”

He had never been to Europe before. As a player of a second division football club, he said “I’ve been struggling to get my head around meeting so many stars, let alone being up for [the] award with Messi and then having my goal beat his in the vote.” Lira also thanked his family, and all those who had voted for him.

Messi praised the goal and said “The fact is it’s a great goal and he deserved it. The award is in good hands”.

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