Why South Shields ace Warren Byrne could soon be competing with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
If you haven't seen Warren Byrne's sensational strike for South Shields FC yet then where have you been?!
The 33-year-old scored the eye-catching strike in the Mariners’ 3-0 win at Tow Law Town on Saturday and has since become a global name with more than 1.5million viewing his goal.
After flicking the ball up once, the factory worker - who joined Shields last summer - then hooked it over his head with his right foot and sent a stunning left-foot volley into the opposite corner from 20 yards.
And he could soon be sharing a stage with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
Every year, the FIFA Puskas Award - named after Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas - is awarded to the footballer who scores the "most beautiful" goal of the year.
And it would take some going to beat Byrne's sublime strike!
The FIFA Puskas Award recognises the best goal 'without distinction of championship, gender or nationality'.
In the Autumn, FIFA and selected Football Committee members define a shortlist of ten goals scored around the world between September last year and this September before a public vote takes place.
A shortlist of three is usually announced in November with the winner announced next January.
It was Byrne’s 29th goal for Shields - who won promotion last Thursday - this season, and he has gained a reputation for his spectacular strikes.
If his latest stunning strike were to make the shortlist, then he would be in good company here in the North East.
Sunderland AFC Ladies and Republic of Ireland striker Stephanie Roche made global headlines after scoring one of the goals of the season in 2014.
Roche was named runner-up for her wonder strike for Peamount United, coming second to Colombia’s James Rodriguez at the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony.
Last year, Wendell Lira won the 2015 FIFA Puskas Award for his spinning bicycle kick while playing for Goianesia in the Brazilian Goias state championship.
Lira became the latest player to collect the award after Cristiano Ronaldo (2009), Hamit Altintop (2010), Neymar (2011), Miroslav Stoch (2012), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2013) and James Rodriguez (2014).
Messi - runner-up last year -has never won the Puskas Award.
And neither has Byrne. Yet.