Marcin Oleksy: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Puskas Award winner
The Puskas Award always garners plenty of social media buzz, and there was something quite special about the 2022 winner.
Polish amputee Marcin Oleksy became the first disabled victor of the award when his seemingly impossible acrobatic strike was crowned the most impressive goal of the year.
Oleksy's story is a remarkable one, and here's everything you need to know about the 2022 Puskas Award winner.
Who is Marcin Oleksy?
Oleksy was a talented goalkeeper who idolised Iker Casillas before he suffered a life-changing accident on 20 November 2010, aged just 23.
Oleksy, who was then a construction worker and tasked with filling a hole in the road, was crushed by an out-of-control vehicle and forced to have his left leg amputated. His passion for football waned in the wake of the accident, but his love was rekindled several years later when he went for a kickaround with his son, Tomasz, who was born just after Marcin's amputation.
Oleksy described this moment as a "turning point" and he started to play amputee football. He made a name for himself in the amputee football league and was subsequently called up to the Polish national team where he's established himself as a star.
Oleksy competed at the 2022 Amputee World Cup, but his Polish side were eliminated by Brazil in the round of 16.
The goal that won the 2022 Puskas Award
Oleksy's strike came while playing in the PZU Amp Futbol Ekstraklasa for Warta Poznan against Stal Rzeszow last November.
And who better to describe the Puskas winner than the man himself: "My team-mate Dawid [Novak] played the pass. When I saw him approaching the ball, I knew it was coming to me. I connected really cleanly. It was pure. When I hit it, I was following the ball all the way with my eyes and I saw it go into the corner of the net. I always wanted to score a beautiful goal.
"You could see how proud it made me after I scored. I stood up tall, I put my chest out. I was just so, so happy.”
Who did Marcin Oleksy beat to win the 2022 Puskas Award?
11 goals were initially nominated for the prize before a three-goal shortlist was revealed in the weeks leading up to Monday's ceremony.
Richarlison's acrobatic effort against Serbia at the 2022 World Cup made the final shortlist, as did Dimitri Payet's stunning half-volley from distance against PAOK in the Europa Conference League.
However, it was Oleksy's strike that came out on top.
- 1st: Marcin Oleksy
- 2nd: Dimitri Payet
- 3rd: Richarlison
- Unranked: Mario Balotelli, Francisco Gonzalez Metilli, Amandine Henry, Theo Hernandez, Alou Kuol, Kylian Mbappe, Salma Paralluelo, Alessia Russo
What is the Puskas Award?
The FIFA Puskas Award was established in late 2009 by then president Sepp Blatter to recognise the "most beautiful" goal of the year.
The award is named after the legendary Hungary and Real Madrid striker Ferenc Puskas. Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, Puskas won three European Cups with Real and reached the 1954 World Cup final with the Mighty Magyars, scoring over 500 goals during his career.
Puskas died in November 2006 at the age of 79 and the award was set up as a way to honour his legacy. The first prize was won by Cristiano Ronaldo for his thundering strike against Porto in the Champions League and stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min have claimed it since.
All FIFA Puskas Award winners
UEFA Champions League
Euro 2012 qualifier
Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
FIIFA World Cup
Mohd Faiz Subri
Malaysia Super League
Nemzeti Bajnoksag I
PZU Amp Futbol Ekstraklasa