FIFA’s Puskas Award for 2016 has turned into a key facet of the world governing body’s social marketing at the moment. The reason for this is due to the fact that the Ballon d’Or has returned to France Football, which means FIFA will run their own awards for 2016. The Puskas Award allows FIFA to run their own award, which undoubtedly only belongs to them.
FIFA has announced the shortlist for its Puskas Award, celebrating the best goal of the year. The prize, which was first awarded in 2009, will be decided from a three-man shortlist announced in December and handed out at a star-studded Zurich gala on January 9th.
According to a statement on the website, a panel with former Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta, Dutchman Marco van Basten and a Brazilian helped to choose the goals. FIFA only considered the goals scored between 30 September 2015 and 30 September 2016, which explains, for example, the absence of Arsenal's Mesut Özil, who scored an outstanding goal against Ludogorets in the UEFA Champions League. And also a sublime individual goal from West Ham's French attacking midfielder Payet, in the Premier League.
This is the eighth edition of the Puskás Award, created in honor of Ferenc Puskás, a former Hungarian player and Real Madrid striker in the 50s and 60s. The previous winners were: Cristiano Ronaldo , Hamit Altıntop , Neymar , Miroslav Stoch , Zlatan Ibrahimović , James Rodríguez  and Wendell Lira .
Messi and Neymar are the biggest names on the shortlist this year, but the criteria for the prize state that it should be awarded "without distinction of championship, gender or nationality," which is how Brazilian Wendell Lira won it last year.
Mario Gaspar of Villarreal has been nominated for his stunning volley against England in November 2015 , while lesser-known inclusions such as Hlompho Kekana, Marlone, Simon Skrabb, Daniuska Rodriguez and Mohd Faiz Subri are all in with a chance.
Hal Robson-Kanu's Cruyff turn and finish during Wales' Euro 2016 win over Belgium makes the cut, while Saúl Ñiguez's amazing, ultimately crucial, individual goal in the Champions League semi-final was arguably the most important of all the nominated strikes. Xherdan Shaqiri's acrobatic volley for Switzerland at Euro 2016 is a surprise exclusion from the shortlist as is Daniel Sturridge's fine effort in the Europa League final.
The sole representative from women's football this year is Daniuska Rodriguez, who simply would not be denied after collecting an overhit cross for Venezuela in the 2016 South American Under-17 Women's Football Championship. She utterly bamboozled two Colombian defenders in a remarkable display of persistence and skill before hammering home past the helpless goalkeeper.
During the awards show on 9 January 2017, the winners of The Best FIFA Men’s Player, The Best FIFA Women’s Player, The Best FIFA Men’s Coach and The Best FIFA Women’s Coach awards for 2016 will also be revealed. Online voting will close on December 2, with the top three goals going to a second round of voting.