A NORTHERN IRISH footballer has joined the likes of Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in being nominated for the prestigious FIFA Puskas award.
The award celebrates the very best goals scored around the world - in both men's and women's football.
Billie Simpson of Cliftonville Ladies was nominated thanks to her strike against Sion Swifts Ladies in the Northern Irish Premiership back in August 2018.
Simpson thundered a volley - from inside her own half - after incredibly punting a Sion Swifts goal kick back from whence it came, without the ball bouncing.
Personally, we here at the Irish Post think a goal should be judged based on how much skill is needed to carry out the strike, and particularly, how many times the goal would be scored if it was attempted, let's say, 100 times. Based on that, (taking national bias out of it - we promise) we think Simpson is in with an excellent shout of winning the award.
Striking a ball cleanly while it's moving quickly along the ground is difficult - I'm sure most of you have tried it, and I'm sure most of you have broken many windows and lost many balls in hedges in the process - but striking it cleanly while it's moving quickly through the air ... that's just different gravy.
So pure was Simpson's strike and so perfect was her technique that we believe not even Pele himself could've replicated it. I mean, the man is nearly in his 80s, but you take my point. It was bleeding' difficult to score that.
If you agree with us, get voting for her, here.
Ten goals in total have been nominated for the award, including goals from Messi for his sublime chip against Real Betis in March, Ibrahimovic for his acrobatic back-heel against Toronto FC back in September and Crystal Palace's memorable strike against Manchester City in December last year.
Votes for the award are open to the public and will run until September 1.
The top three choices will then be put to a panel of FIFA legend who will decide the winning goal.
The island of Ireland has been represented in the Puskas nominations before. Republic of Ireland women's international Stephanie Roche was nominated for the award in 2014 while Glentoran's Matty Burrows made the shortlist for the 2011 honour after a jumping backheel volley in a game against Portadown in October 2010.
Puskas Award nominees
Matheus Cunha (RB Leipzig v Bayer Leverkusen - 6 April 2019)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy v Toronto FC - 15 September 2018)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona v Real Betis - 17 March 2019)
Ajara Nchout (Cameroon v New Zealand, Fifa Women's World Cup - 20 June 2019)
Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria v Napoli - 2 September 2018)
Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate v Racing Club - 10 February 2019)
Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals v Sky Blue FC - 16 June 2019)
Billie Simpson (Cliftonville Ladies v Sion Swifts - 9 August 2018)
Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace v Manchester City - 22 December 2018)
Daniel Zsori (Debrecen FC v Ferencvaros - 16 February 2019)
Check out all the goals on FIFA's youtube channel here.