Puskas award recognition ‘huge’ for women’s game, says England striker Alessia Russo

Puskas award recognition is ‘HUGE’ for women’s football, says England striker Alessia Russo after her outrageous backheel in Euro 2022 semi-final win over Sweden was included on 11-goal shortlist alongside Mbappe’s World Cup final stunner

  • Russo admitted being nominated for the FIFA Puskas award is ‘surreal’
  • Three goals scored by women have made list of nominations for 2022 award
  • England star nominated alongside some of the biggest names in world football

Alessia Russo admitted being nominated alongside Kylian Mbappe for the FIFA Puskas award is ‘surreal’ but insisted the recognition is ‘huge’ for women’s football.

Russo’s back-heel in England’s Euro semi-final victory over Sweden is one of three goals scored by women to have made the 11-strong list of nominations for the 2022 award, which is decided by a public vote.

The Manchester United striker is nominated alongside some of the biggest names in world football including Mbappe, Richarlison and Mario Balotelli.

Alessia Russo's backheeled finish is one of three goals scored by women on 11-player shortlist

Alessia Russo’s backheeled finish is one of three goals scored by women on 11-player shortlist

‘It’s massive, as much as you don’t want to say it’s surreal, it is,’ Russo said of her nomination.

‘A few years ago that wouldn’t have been the case so now to have these kinds of recognition for female footballers, not only in England but across the world, is huge. It’s huge for where we want the sport to go and you can tell this is the direction it is going now.

‘An amazing goal is an amazing goal – it doesn’t matter if it’s come from the men’s or the women’s game. I think it’s great. We want women’s football to be up there and recognized with the best. Now it’s getting there. It’s great for the game.

‘I know when I was a kid, watching the Puskas goals, there were never any women on there. It’s great for women’s sport, women’s football and for young girls out there.

Russo scored with an outrageous backheel in England's Euro 2022 semi-final win over Sweden

Russo scored with an outrageous backheel in England’s Euro 2022 semi-final win over Sweden

‘It’s really nice and it’s nothing short of what women’s football deserves. The likes of Beth [Mead] winning Sports Personality of the Year, it’s nice to see top female athletes being recognized for what they have done.

‘It’s taken a lot of years to get to this point for women’s sport and women’s football in particular but now things are coming to fruition with it all.

Russo’s back-heel, which nutmegged Sweden’s goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, became a social media sensation overnight. The boots Russo wore during the game were displayed at the Tower of London while t-shirts of the goal were put on sale shortly after the tournament.

‘The boots in the Tower of London was the most incredible thing, and then Art of Football came out with a t-shirt with it on, and then Adidas got hold of that and wanted to put the Adidas boots on it, which was really nice.

Among the competition is Kylian Mbappe's volley for France in the World Cup final

Among the competition is Kylian Mbappe’s volley for France in the World Cup final

‘I have one, I haven’t worn it but I’ve got one. A few of the girls have them and wear them sometimes to wind me up, I get a bit embarrassed when people are wearing them to be honest.

‘The club that I used to play at when I was a young girl, called Bearsted, they had a training session a few days after the game and one of their drills was a backheel drill – I don’t know why, but they just wanted to add it into their session! So that was really cool – I got sent a few nice videos of all of that, which was lovely.’

Russo joked that she is ‘slightly sick’ of being asked about the goal but admitted it is probably the best she has scored in her career.

‘I think it has to be [the best]. Any goal in a major competition is huge, and then in the semi-final, and the nature of it.

‘The goal was an instinctive moment and I was just glad it hit the back of the net!’

Fans can vote for their favorite goal at the FIFA website – https://www.fifa.com/the-best-fifa-football-awards/puskas-award

FIFA PUSKAS AWARD NOMINEES

Mario Balotelli (Italy): Adana Demirspor v. Göztepe Spor Kulübü [Süper Lig] (May 22, 2022)

Amandine Henry (France): FC Barcelona v. Olympique Lyonnais [UEFA Women’s Champions League] (May 21, 2022)

Théo Hernández (France): AC Milan v. Atalanta Bergamo Football, [Serie A] (May 15, 2022)

Alou Kuol (Australia): Iraq U23 v. Australia U23 [AFC U23 Asian Cup] (June 4, 2022)

Kylian Mbappé (France): Argentina v. France [FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™] (December 18, 2022)

Francisco González Metilli (Argentina): Club Atlético Central Córdoba v. Club Atletico Rosario Central [Primera División] (August 1, 2022)

Marcin Oleksy (Poland): Warta Poznan v. Stal Rzeszow [PZU Amp Futbol Ekstraklasa] (6 November 2022)

Salma Paralluelo (Spain): FC Barcelona v. Villarreal CF [Liga F] (April 2, 2022)

Dimitri Payet (France): Olympique de Marseille v. PAOK Thessaloniki FC [UEFA Europa Conference League] (April 7, 2022)

Richarlison (Brazil): Brazil v. Serbia [FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022] (24 November 2022)

Alessia Russo (England): England v. Sweden [UEFA Women’s EURO 2022] (July 26, 2022)



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