Julio Enciso during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City at AMEX Stadium, Falmer, May 2023.

Ranking all 11 2023 Puskas Award nominee goals from worst to best

Established in 2009, the Puskas Award attempts to nominate the most beautiful goal scored in the footballing world over the previous 12 months – which is a harder task than it sounds.

The 11 nominees for the 2023 award were announced in September and it’s a list comprising 100% bangers. The 11 goals include amateur acrobatics, rabonas, team goals where even the physio got a touch and howitzers launched from somewhere near Saturn.

The list has since been whittled down to three potential winners –  Julio Enciso, Guilherme Madruga and Nuno Santos – with the winner set to be announced at the FIFA Best Awards in London this evening. We’ve taken a look back at the 11 original nominees and ranked them.

11. Sam Kerr

There’s no knocking the context here; Kerr’s long-range bazooka levelled the scores in a World Cup semi-final played in her own country against the pantomime villains of England.

But, if you look closer, there’s a deflection off Millie Bright’s limb. And once you see it, you cannot unsee it.

Just like Luis Figo’s blast against England at Euro 2000, this goal was lauded but the aesthetics matter in an impossible ranking like this. Possibly the best last-placed ranking ever.

10. Julio Enciso

Very nice and the clips circling the internet don’t do justice to the flowing team-move before Enciso unleashed hell on the Manchester City goal. Even the away supporters applauded as it nestled in the net.

The Paraguayan was awarded the Premier League Goal of the Season for this strike, which seems a bit… much? Perhaps we’re missing something, or our brains aren’t wired correctly, but the threshold for the accolade used to be much higher.

Gun to our head, it lacks the jaw-dropping element of other entrants on this list. A surprise to see it make the top three.

9. Askhat Tagybergen

Goodness me; Tagybergen was somewhere in Russia when he decided to thump his shot into the top corner. Kasper Schmeichel had as much chance of solving The Times crossword in under 60 seconds as he did saving this.

Kazakhstan have an outside chance of reaching Euro 2024. If they do, we insist they break the modern habit of unsatisfying foreplay outside the opponent’s penalty area and let rip from absolutely anywhere. Thank us later.


8. Linda Caicedo

Genuinely a goal that reverberated around the world; Caicedo opened the scoring in Colombia’s shock 2-1 win over Germany that eventually consigned the footballing powerhouse to a group-stage exit from the World Cup.

The footwork is smoother than Usher spreading Utterly Butterly on his morning toast and Caicedo manages to elevate the ball into the net like an angel rising to heaven. Great stuff.

7. Ivan Morante

The technique here is superb, as Morante demonstrates the kind of juggling ability that’d have consigned him to the circus in less enlightened times.

Incredibly, it was his first senior goal too, as Ibiza beat Burgos in the Spanish Second Division. This has no business as low as seventh. We deserve no sympathy.

6. Kang Seong-jin

Taking inspiration from Son Heung-min’s ridiculous solo effort against Burnley in 2019, Kang Seong-jin eschewed convention by dribbling into space and taking on opponents rather than checking his run and playing an easy pass to a team-mate.

The rewards were spectacular; after wriggling free of three opponents, the young Korean sent a fourth into retirement with a rapid sequence of step-overs before sweeping his finish into the top corner.

5. Brian Lozano

Foot like a traction engine? F*ck that, Lozano has a left peg comparable to the Hadron Collider if this effort is anything to go by.

4. Beatriz Zaneratto

The best goal at the 2023 Women’s World Cup (in our view), Brazil toyed with Panama like the family cat ravaging a clockwork mouse with a succession of one-touch p*ss-taking.

The chef’s kiss, rather than Zaneratto’s finish, was surely the backheel from Ary Borges. Easily equal to anything the 1970 team produced.

3. Nuno Santos

Erik Lamela won this award in 2021 for his rabona ridiculousness in the north London derby, but Santos can only finish third on our more prestigious list.

An indication that ranking these blockbusters is like trying to run a marathon with a migraine? Possibly.

An indication that the nearest Boavista defender attempted to intercept the cross with the intensity of a teenager tidying their bedroom? Probably.

2. Alvaro Barreal

Jesus, Barreal makes a stronger connection with this corner than we’ve made with any human being in our entire lives.

You’d retire on the spot if you pulled that off in your Thursday Powerleague.

A minor travesty this didn’t make the final three.

1. Guilherme Madruga

Our winner comes from Brazil, where Madruga managed to contort his body like Playdoh to score a once-in-a-generation overhead kick for Botafogo.

It has everything you want from a Puskas winner; ingenuity, an absence level of skill, the abstractness of the scorer to even contemplate it and the goalkeeper crumpled in the net like a pile of dirty washing.

READ NEXT: Ranking every winner of the FIFA Puskas Award since its inception

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name everyone who’s won Champions League & World Cup?