Polish amputee Marcin Oleksy still cannot believe his scissor kick won the 2022 FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal on Monday, beating finalists Dimitri Payet and Richarlison to the prize.
Oleksy’s spectacular overhead kick in amputee football was voted by fans and expert panelists above Richarlison’s acrobatic World Cup volley for Brazil against Serbia and Payet’s long-range strike for Olympique de Marseille against PAOK in the Europa Conference League.
“The time will come for me to believe what happened,” Oleksy said on Tuesday after he landed back in Warsaw.
“But I am very happy. I managed to leave behind Payet, Richarlison, (Kylian) Mbappe – there’s Marcin Oleksy (now).
“I actually felt a little bit of fear when I went to collect the prize, (as for) what it would be like. (There were so many) emotions. I tucked my head down at first, took two deep breaths – not to drop a tear.”
Oleksy became the first amputee to win the award.
“I looked at the crowd and thought: ‘So you can compete with Mbappe? Yes you can! It is possible to win against him? It is!’,” he later told a news conference.
Mbappe, whose second goal against Argentina in the World Cup final was on the initial shortlist of 11 nominees, was among those who congratulated the Polish player, Oleksy said.
“It was an honour to be nominated for Puskas Award. Congratulations @airoleksy, your goal is a masterpiece and you are an inspiration for all of us!,” Richarlison wrote on Instagram, alongside his picture with Oleksy.
Oleksy combines football with a full-time job as an excavator operator.
“I invite Robert Lewandowski to a training session. I’ll show him how to score nice goals,” he joked.