Now Glentoran’s new scoring sensation Matty Burrows can boast of being on the same shortlist as the little Argentinian with the mesmerising feet as football’s world governing body selects the best goal of 2010.
Barcelona’s Messi caught the attention of the world a long time ago.
It’s only just over a month since Burrows’ name was splashed across the globe, thanks to his winning goal against Portadown.
It was no ordinary goal either. His back-heeled volley while in mid-air flew past stunned goalkeeper David Miskelly and claimed three points for the Glens on the night and now it could see him strike goals, with Burrows in line to win FIFA’s Ballon d’or Puskas Award for the best goal of the year.
FIFA announced a couple of weeks ago that Burrows had made the final 10 for the award and now they’ve unveiled the rest of the contenders.
To succeed the 2009 winner Cristiano Ronaldo he only has to win more votes than Messi, Holland captain Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who fired home a 30-yard stunner in the World Cup semi-final and a South African who scored the first goal of the first World Cup to be played on his home continent.
And there’s a pretty special goal from a Swedish striker Linus Hallenius — which has been compared to Marco van Basten’s volley that helped Holland win the 1988 European Championships — as well as one from Arjen Robben.
We’ll know if Burrows’ goal has done it on January 10 when the winner is announced at the gala Ballon d’or awards ceromony in Zurich.
The importance of the match is one of the criteria FIFA used to draw up the final 10 and when you think that van Bronckhorst’s strike opened the scoring in a World Cup semi-final, then Burrows’ goal much further down the scale in an Irish League game must have really impressed those who selected the shortlist.
Within a matter of days Burrow’s strike has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube.
As of last night there were around four million hits — and counting.
What a rise to fame for 25-year-old Burrows, who just three years ago was an unknown, turning out for Dundela in the rather modest surroundings of Wilgar Park. With all due respect, it’s a long way from Barcelona’s Nou Camp or the World Cup finals.
It’s not every day that a part-time footballer from Northern Ireland is regarded as up there with a player regarded as the most skillful on the planet, so Burrows has every reason to savour the moment.
The much maligned local game, often knocked by some who wouldn’t know one Roy Walker from the other, now has a worldwide profile, being up there with a World Cup in terms of goals.
Every fan, of Carling Premiership clubs and beyond, should get onto the FIFA website and vote for Burrows’ goal so that he — and the domestic game — enjoys a little more than 15 minutes of fame.
COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? email@example.com