Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on an amazing, astonishing, unbelievable overhead kick goal that has been watched over a million times on YouTube. But the goal, his fourth in Sweden’s 4-2 victory over England, won’t be up for consideration as the best goal of 2012.
What do nearly 1.3 million people know?
Ibrahimovic’s goal in the friendly in Stockholm came several hours after voting began for 10 FIFA-approved Puskas Award candidates. “Given that a number of votes have already been cast for this year’s award,” FIFA said, “the select committee for the Puskas Award may not, at this stage, include an additional nominee.” Goals by Lionel Messi, Neymar and Rademal Falcao are among the candidates, with voting at fifa.com.
Ibrahimovic’s goal can, however, be considered for the 2013 Puskas Award and maybe FIFA is onto something. Ibrahimovic wasn’t that impressed with the goal, which he described as “nice.” The Guardian was a little more effusive:
This felt a complete performance, a destruction of youthful and experimental opponents undertaken single-handedly with a goal from distance that defied belief, a free-kick dispatched with venom, a volley and a predatory finish in the six-yard box. The visitors had no answer. It was the fourth that took the breath away, the striker glancing up and weighing up his options in a split second as Joe Hart tore out of his area to head a punt clear.
“I saw him come out and had to decide whether I should go in a duel [in the air] or wait for him to head it out,” Ibrahimovic said. “When he headed it I had it in my mind to try to score. I hit it in mid-air and, when I landed, saw their defender [Ryan Shawcross] running back to try to clear but it bounced over him. It was a good try, that is all. When it comes off it looks fantastic but, for me, I liked the first goal more because it was history: the first in the new arena.”
England captain Steven Gerrard rated it among the “best goals I’ve ever seen live. I still think Zinedine Zidane is the greatest player I ever played against, but Ibrahimovic’s performance tonight was world-class and it was his night. If someone scores four goals, and the way he scored them, it’s up there with the best performances I have ever seen.”