It's FIFA official: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the most beautiful goal of 2013 in 2012.
The Swedish striker won the 2013 FIFA Puskás Award for the audacious, overhead bicycle kick goal he scored from 30 yards out in a friendly against England in November 2012. The astonishing long-range goal capped a four-score performance as Ibrahimovic lifted Sweden past England 4-2 at Friends Arena in Stockholm.
"When you win a trophy like this one, one that is voted for by the fans, it's extra special, because they are the ones who live and breathe football," Ibrahimovic told FIFA.com after taking home the prize during the Ballon d'Or gala on Monday. "The fact that they chose my goal is incredible: it touches me deep down in my heart."
The instant classic came too late to be included among the 2012 finalists but was too good to be ignored. It was one of two goals scored in the closing weeks of 2012 to be included among the 10 nominees considered for the 2013 prize. An initial fan vote narrowed the original list of 10 goals down to three finalists. Ibrahimovic's unforgettable strike garnered 48.7% of the votes in a subsequent online fan poll to finish ahead of scores by Neymar and Nemanja Matic, according to FIFA.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) January 13, 2014
Neymar and Matic may not have dared to Zlatan but their nominated goals were still quite impressive. Take a look at the other two finalists: