Nathan Daniel Jerome Redmond of Besiktas JK during the Turkish Super Lig match between Besiktas AS and Kasimpasa AS at Vodafone Park on January 7, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey.

We’re calling it now: Nathan Redmond has just won the Puskas Award

It was a goal to leave jaws permanently dislocated and eyebrows requiring an emergency visa to relocate to a different country.

Nathan Redmond has enjoyed the kind of career millions can only dream about; breaking through at his boyhood club (Birmingham City), starring in a promotion-winning side (Norwich City), before becoming a Premier League stalwart at Southampton.

Always blessed with pace and the kind of trickery that’s normally the preserve of snake oil salesman, the winger also has an international cap for England. Just one, but what have you done with your life? Exactly.

Now, after swapping Southampton for Turkish giants Besiktas, Redmond will become the recipient of the next Puskas Award. We’re calling it now.

During a heated Istanbul derby against Fenerbahce, the 29-year-old waited for the ball to reach him inside his own half before pirouetting away from one hapless defender.

Putting on the afterburners, like the getaway driver in a small-scale bank robbery, Redmond left tyre tracks on the pitch as he motored towards the opposition goal.

What made his movement even more beguiling was the weaving that brought to mind a spider diligently going about creating its web; the Fenerbahce defence was left grasping at thin air.

Having rode one last desperate challenge, Redmond blootered the ball home from a full 25 yards. The fact he hadn’t even started the match made his shot at immortality that bit more special.

“I stumbled over pre-season and then I was getting the picture I wasn’t going to be in Southampton’s plans. I think I’d already had that picture painted to me before the end of last season,” Redmond told The Athletic in November 2022.

“Moving to Turkey, it was always in the back of my mind what people were going to think. ‘Is he going to just go and enjoy some lifestyle stuff?’. I’d been in the Premier League for a long time, so did I have enough personal motivation?

“But when you see the team we have, I’m not sure that’s the case. I thought if I come here wanting to do well and play games, and enjoy the experience, I had nothing to lose.

“It was probably better than staying at Southampton, playing minimal minutes — if any. People could have thought I was just taking my money and not doing anything, and that’s never been in my thought process.”

Redmond also regaled tales of Turkey’s passion for football that are obligatory when talking about the peninsula.

“There is so much passion,” he said. “Games are at 8pm and if you go into Istanbul at midday, the fans are partying. My mum came for less than 36 hours with my agent for the Fenerbahce game (in early October), and they got caught in the rampage from about 1pm — in a good way!

“I’ve never played for a club with as much atmosphere at home games. I was saying to [Arthur] Masuaku after we played Fenerbahce that it reminded me of a pressure game in late April, where one moment can decide so much.

“I’ve played in a few away games here and it’s not like going to Brighton away on a Sunday afternoon with Southampton. Nice day. Nice stadium. Packed. Lovely football from both sides. Here, it’s like Friday night football every weekend.

“The standard is a little different but the game savviness, the challenges and play-acting, it’s all up 10-fold on the Premier League. It’s good fun, man.

“It’s just more connected than England, where it’s maybe lost its touch a bit. That could be for many reasons: money, the drive to succeed, clubs wanting to be as high-performing as possible.”

After his Puskas Award-winner last night, it’s impossible to argue that Redmond hasn’t made the right decision by upping sticks and moving to Turkey.

By Michael Lee

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