Club-less Lira hopes Puskas nomination can revive career

Rio de Janeiro, Nov 8 (IANS) Club-less Brazilian footballer Wendell Lira hopes his FIFA Puskas award nomination for the best goal of the year will help kick-start his stalled career.

The forward has been a free agent since September, having been released by non-league outfit Goianesia and Serie C side Tombense this year. But he was the surprise name on FIFA’s 10-player short list for goal of the year award on Friday, reports Xinhua.

“After (leaving Goianesia) I went to Tombense but didn’t get much of a chance and I’ve been unemployed for the past two months,” the 26-year-old said on Saturday.

“I’ve had three offers but I’m not going to decide anything yet. I have to wait. I hope this goal will help me.”

Lira’s goal, a twisting bicycle kick while running apace, helped Goianesia defeat Atletico Goianiense 2-1 in a Goias state league match in March.

Goianesia president Gustavo Carvalho said the club would commission a statue or bust of Wendell to honour his achievement.

“The funny thing is that he never used to score great goals in training. He was more of a provider who played outside the area. We are very happy for him. I have received phone calls from as far away as England. The club has gained international recognition now,” Carvalho said.

Lira will compete for the Puskas award with nine other nominees, including Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Boca Juniors forward Carlos Tevez and American women’s midfielder Carli Lloyd. The winner will be announced at the Ballon d’Or gala on January 11.

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