By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
Awards are great in theory – the notion of giving recognition to those who deserve it is a great idea, but seldom does it work out that way.
For every person who is deservedly recognised, there are always at least half-a-dozen who receive adulation before others purely based on their fame, their name, their brand and their ‘hype’.
Before I begin I want to make it clear that I think Mohamed Salah is a fantastic player, I very much respect and admire him both as a footballer and as a person, and that I’m delighted for him that he has won his latest award.
But, I ask, did he really deserve to win it?
There was (rightly) plenty of confusion on Monday night when Mohamed Salah scooped the famous Puskas award for his brilliant curling effort against Everton in the Merseyside Derby – it was a terrific goal, but surely there were better options?
Every year there are always some goals scored that just blow the mind – for example, in 2013, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the winner of the award for his unbelievable overhead-kick for Sweden against England – it probably still gives Joe Hart nightmares.
This year, as much as it pains me to say it, the Puskas award absolutely HAD to go to Gareth Bale for his out-of-the-blue and out-of-this-world overhead-kick against Liverpool in the Champions League Final.
Yes, I still feel a little bitter about losing the game, coming so close yet being so far from European glory, but there’s no doubting it was a special goal and to pull it off in the biggest game in club football just makes it an even more incredible strike.
There are reasons why I can understand, to a point, why Salah’s effort was voted in at No. 1.
The award doesn’t go to the scorer of the ‘best’ goal, per se, but to the one that is the most ‘aesthetically significant’, to say most pleasing on the eye – it is usually a goal that can be described as ‘beautiful’.
Now, Salah’s goal against the Ev certainly had some beautiful characteristics – the way he glided past a couple of defenders and delicately curled the ball into the far corner – but it just wasn’t… Puskas-worthy.
I can use the same logic to offer a reason why Bale’s shouldn’t have won – although an absolutely phenomenal strike, I’m not sure his overhead-kick can be described as ‘beautiful’ – though, by that logic, why did Ibrahimovic’s win in 2013?
I’m thrilled that he is getting more recognition but, I’m sorry Mo, there is absolutely no way this goal should have won the Puskas award.
Another little thing that irks me about this award this year is that none of the goals scored by less well-known players got any real recognition.
One of the great things about this award since its inception in 2009 is that pretty much anyone can win it – last year it was Olivier Giroud, yes, but second and third places went to Oscarine Masuluke of South African side Baroka and Venezuelan Deyna Castellanos.
In 2016 the two main runners-up were, another Venezuelan, Daniuska Rodríguez and Marlone, from Brazil, while the top prize went to Mohd Faiz Subri, of Malaysia Super League outfit Penang – none of those are exactly household names.
But, this year, Salah, Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo were the main three slated for the award and the only ones that have been talked about at all in the aftermath of the award in mainstream media.
Where’s the love for Cruzeiro’s Uguguayan international Giorgian de Arrascaeta? Or Greek Lazaros Christodoulopoulos? Why not 19-year-old Australian Riley McGree’s stunning one-in-a-million flick? (my personal favourite).
They all scored stunning goals – trust me, watch the videos of their nominated goals – but they aren’t household names, and so naturally they weren’t even considered ahead of Ronaldo and Salah.
It really, really annoys me, but then a lot of things do.
Do you think Mohamed Salah should have won the Puskas Award? If not, whose goal did you prefer? Are awards in football fair? Have your say in the comments below or tweet you answer to @TheKopiteOFF.