Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Mohd Faiz Subri for becoming the first Asian player to win the FIFA Puskás Award on Monday after his superlative free-kick during a Malaysia Super League game was voted the best goal of 2016 by millions of fans across the world on the FIFA website.
Shaikh Salman, who is in Zurich for various FIFA meetings and attended The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 gala event, said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate Faiz Subri for this remarkable achievement. It was truly a breathtaking strike that captured the imagination of football fans around the globe and the whole of Asia celebrates this victory with Faiz.
“As articulated in the AFC’s Vision, Faiz has once again proven that Asia can stand proud among the best in the world and I am confident that this award will inspire more Asian players towards greater achievements on the world’s biggest stages.”
The FIFA Puskás Award is awarded to the player, male or female, judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant, or "most beautiful", goal of the year.
Fending off strong competition from Corinthians’ Marlone and Venezuela’s Daniuska Rodriguez, the Penang star, who was the first Malaysian to be nominated for the award, landed the glittering prize after registering an impressive 59.46 percent of the votes.
The 29-year-old scored twice against Pahang at the Bandaraya Pulau Pinang Stadium on February 16 last year to inspire his side’s victory, but it was the attacking midfielder’s wonderfully swerving masterpiece that saw him become a household name overnight.
Previous Asian players to have been nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award include Japan’s Kumi Yokoyama and Hisato Sato, as well as the Australian duo of Lisa de Vanna and Tim Cahill.
Faiz has now inked his place in history, joining an esteemed list of past winners which include Cristiano Ronaldo (2009), Hamit Altintop (2010), Neymar (2011), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2013) and James Rodriguez (2014).