Lionel Messi, Mo Salah Among Nominees for 2018 FIFA Puskas Award

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist ISeptember 3, 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 26: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Nigeria and Argentina at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah have both been nominated for the 2018 FIFA Puskas Award.

The Argentina captain's strike against Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Salah's goal against Everton in the Merseyside derby are both on the shortlist for the most aesthetically significant or most beautiful goal of the year.

Here's a look at the 10 contenders for the award:

FIFA.com @FIFAcom

#Puskas Award: Polling is Open 🗳️⚽️ Vote for #TheBest goal! #FIFAFootballAwards 👉 https://t.co/9AdqKqFGwB https://t.co/G7Fb7hT1hX

Messi is up for the prize despite not being in the running for the 2018 Best FIFA Men's Player award. Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric are the three finalists.

The Barcelona captain's goal came during a disappointing World Cup for Argentina. La Albiceleste drew with Iceland in their opening group game and were convincingly beaten 3-0 by Croatia.

Jorge Sampaoli's side were facing an early elimination from the competition if they did not beat Nigeria. However, Messi opened the scoring after 14 minutes as Argentina won 2-1.

Salah's strike came in the Premier League against city rivals Everton at Goodison Park. The Egyptian star turned away from his defender and placed the ball in the top corner on his first appearance in a Merseyside derby.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the first Liverpool goal  during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on December 10, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Also up for the award are a pair of overhead kicks from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. The Portuguese superstar's came in the 2018 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for Real Madrid against Juventus.

The strike has already been voted as UEFA's Goal of the Season for 2018.

Bale's came in the final of the 2018 Champions League against Liverpool. The Welshman struck to make it 2-1 to Los Blancos with one of European football's great goals.

Also in contention are World Cup goals from Denis Cheryshev for Russia against Croatia, Ricardo Quaresma's outside-of-the-boot strike against Iran and Benjamin Pavard's thunderous volley for France against Argentina.

There are also three lesser known players in with a shot of scooping the award. Cruzeiro's Giorgian de Arrascaeta made the shortlist with his scissor kick against America, while Riley McGree's neat flick for Newcastle Jets is also in contention along with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos' free-kick from range.

The winner of the award will be decided by an online poll on FIFA's official website. The winner will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards Show on September 14.


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