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Puskas Award: Who are all the winners and where are they now?

A real range of players have claimed the accolade since its induction in 2009 and have embarked on very different career paths

The Puskas Award is a now a genuine, credible accolade since its introduction back in 2009.

And we all have a certain Sepp Blatter (boo, hiss, boo) to thank for ingraining it firmly in the footballing furniture.

The grubby Swiss tyrant pushed for its inclusion to recognise the ‘most beautiful’ goal of the year in honour of Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas.

But which players have claimed the prize? And where are the respective winners now?

Cristiano Ronaldo – 2009 (for Manchester United against Porto)

Some bloke called Cristiano Ronaldo won the first ever Puskas Award

EPA
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Some bloke called Cristiano Ronaldo won the first ever Puskas Award

Arguably the least well known of all the past winners, Ronaldo never really fulfilled his potential after a sumptuous strike for United in their Champions League win in Porto.

Since then he’s disappeared off the map a bit, winning just the four Ballon d’Or awards, breaking pretty much every scoring record known to man and leading his country to victory in a major tournament.

It’s a shame his career never really got going.

Hamit Altintop – 2010 (for Turkey against Kazahkstan)

Don’t look so shocked Hamit, your belter deserved to win it

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Don’t look so shocked Hamit, your belter deserved to win it

Altintop’s career path is enough to make any top professional seethe with jealousy, but beating the likes of Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben to the award in 2010 might be his finest moment.

His ridiculous volley while captaining his country in a Euro 2012 qualifying win earned a massive and fully deserved 40.55% of the vote in 2010.

After spells with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Galatasaray, the Turkish midfielder is now with Bundesliga basement side Darmstadt.

Neymar – 2011 (for Santos against Flamengo)

A rare image of Jedward in their playing days

Reuters
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A rare image of Jedward in their playing days

Back in early 2011, a young Brazilian hopeful by the name of Neymar was introducing himself to the world with an outrageous solo goal for boyhood club Santos.

The then 19-year-old collected the ball on the touchline, danced past a few defenders and collected a one two before firing home after beating another couple of opposing players.

It is fitting that the goal was scored while he shared a pitch with Ronaldinho, Brazil’s greatest entertainer, and he convincingly edged out Messi and Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick in the Manchester derby to lift the accolade.

Neymar is now the most likely player to end the Messi-Ronaldo Ballon d’Or duopoly.

Miroslav Stoch – 2012 (for Fenerbahce against Gençlerbirliği)

Remember him, Chelsea fans?

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Remember him, Chelsea fans?

Even the most loyal Chelsea supporter may struggle to remember the talented but troubled young Czech winger.

Stoch made just four first-team appearances for the Blues and was one of the many millions (approximate number) of youngster who were shipped out to Twente on loan.

But his lovely volley direct from a corner kick, think Paul Scholes’ signature move, means he’ll always have a place in FIFA folklore despite never really making a proper impression on the European scene.

He’s still at Fenerbahce but has spent three out of the last five seasons on loan at a number of pretty rogue clubs.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 2013 (for Sweden against England)

Stop showing off Zlatan

Bildbyran
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Stop showing off Zlatan

Putting our necks on the line a bit here at DT HQ, but is this the most iconic goal of the last decade?

Zlatan’s almost incomprehensible acrobatic volley against Roy Hodgson’s totally random England side (Ryan Shawcross made his one and only cap) capped a four-goal individual battering.

Since then he’s furthered his reputation emphatically, dominating the French league and proving he’s just as useful in England before a horrible knee injury last month.

We can only hope he recovers to continue his heroics.

James Rodriguez – 2014 (for Colombia against Uruguay)

Could we see this man in Manchester red next season?

EFE
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Could we see this man in Manchester red next season?

The name’s bond, James Rodriguez.

Thankfully we didn’t come up with that travesty of a headline, an Indian newspaper journalist did, but it came about after Rodriguez’s heroics at the 2014 World Cup.

His sublime turn and volley which contained the crucial ‘golzaco’ criteria – crashing in off the underside of the bar – got him a huge move to Real Madrid.

He’s now likely to leave Los Blancos this summer, with Manchester United heavily linked with a swoop.

Wendell Lira – 2015 (for Goianesia against Atletico Goianiense)

Wendell Lira after being told his mum had confiscated his PS4

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Wendell Lira after being told his mum had confiscated his PS4

Possibly the most left-field winner of the lot, Lira’s unorthodox first-time finish scooped the award ahead of Messi (again) and Alessandro Florenzi.

Since then he’s had an offer from AC Milan rejected before quitting his playing career to become a professional gamer and YouTuber.

Each to their own.

Mohd Faiz Subri – 2016 (for Penang against Pahang)

This man has won more Puskas Awards than Lionel Messi

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This man has won more Puskas Awards than Lionel Messi

For a player who has never and is likely never to leave Malaysian football, this is probably a pretty big deal.

Subri scored a 40-yard set piece that can only really be described as ridiculous and physics defying that no goalkeeper in the world could have got close to.

He’s still at Penang now while his Wikipedia says he’s notable for scoring spectacular free kicks, which is a slight understatement.

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