Who will take home the Puskas Award?

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Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend is targeting further improvement next season and insists he wants to stick around long term.

With the 10 nominees for FIFA’s Puskas Award confirmed, which player looks to have the best chance of claiming the spoils?

There is no denying all 10 goals included on the list are fabulous strikes in their own way and it will be a difficult decision for the panel of FIFA Legends to choose a winner, who will be announced at the Best FIFA Football Awards gala in Milan on September 23.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah won last year’s award, while other past winners since its creation in 2009 have included Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Brazilian Neymar, Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez, France international Olivier Giroud as well as 2019 nominee Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

All goals under consideration for the 2019 award were scored between July 16 2018 and July 18 2019 inclusive, with seven men and three women on the shortlist, the highest number of female nominations in a single year to date.

The nominees for the coveted award are as follows:

Matheus Cunha – RB Leipzig
Juan Fernando Quintero – River Plate
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – LA Galaxy
Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Ajara Nchout – Cameroon
Fabio Quaqliarella – Sampdoria
Amy Rodriguez – Utah Royals
Billie Simpson – Cliftonville Ladies
Andros Townsend – Crystal Palace
Daniel Zsori – Debrecen

So, which goals stand out the most and have the best chance of claiming the ‘most beautiful’ goal of the year?

1) Andros Townsend – Crystal Palace

Leading the race is England international Townsend’s magnificent strike in Palace’s 3-2 Premier League victory at Manchester City on December 22, 2018. With the scores locked at 1-1, the midfielder silenced the Etihad Stadium and moved his team into a 2-1 victory with the best strike of his career to date.

Dutchman Patrick Van Aanholt’s freekick from the left-hand side was cleared away by a combination of headers from John Stones and Bernardo Silva, only for Townsend to send a rocket of a volley into the top-right corner from 30 yards out.

It was one of the purest strikes seen in Premier League history, bettering Alan Shearer’s volley for Newcastle United against Everton in December 2002, and the Eagles star is right in contention to win the award. Don’t believe me…just have a look for yourself.

2) Daniel Zsori – Debrecen

Challenging Townsend will be Debrecen ace Zsori. The 18-year-old is only just starting out his senior career but he could have the Puskas Award in his locker come September 23.

With the scores locked at 1-1 in the clash against Ferencvaros in February this year and just over one minute of added time remaining, a flat diagonal delivery came into the area before the Romanian produced an unbelievable overhead kick, running away from goal, into the bottom-left corner.

It was a truly sensational goal, which ensured his side picked up the three points, and is fully deserving of its place on the nominations.

3) Amy Rodriguez – Utah Royals FC

The third and final goal that looks to have a great chance of winning is the strike from Rodriguez in the 1-0 victory against Sky Blue FC in June this year. The United States international picked up the ball 15-20 yards inside her own half, went on a mazy run before then crashing in a volley from just under 30 yards out.

It was a truly magnificent strike and there is every chance the 32-year-old can make history this September by becoming the first female player to win the Puskas Award.

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