KUALA LUMPUR: FIFA Puskas Award 2016 winner Mohd Faiz Subri expressed his gratitude to Malaysians for the unending prayers and continued support leading to his victory in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday.
He also thanked fans throughout the world for voting for his goal that was acclaimed as the most beautiful in 2016.
“I was a bit nervous at first but now I feel elated,” he said when interviewed by FIFATV after being presented the award by Brazilian football great Ronaldo during The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 that was broadcast worldwide and live-streamed on the Internet from the Technology and Production Centre Switzerland.
Faiz spoke in Bahasa Malaysia during the interview. FA of Malaysia deputy president Afandi Hamzah acted as the interpreter.
The 29-year-old Penang striker told FIFATV that the award was a career defining moment for him and his family.
Faiz was the architect of what has been described as a physics-defying swerving goal against Pahang in the Malaysian Super League match on Feb 16 last year. It was a goal so spectacular that it catapulted him to international recognition.
The ball was heading towards one corner but ended up deceptively in the other, leaving the Pahang goalkeeper – and football fans – dumbfounded.
The Malaysian footballer garnered 59.46% of the votes to easily beat Brazil’s Johnath Marlone Azevedo da Silva (22.86%) and Venezuela’s woman player Daniuska Rodriguez (10.01%) to the award, which was first won by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Asked by FIFATV about the goal, the Kedah-born player said it was the best he had ever scored.
“It was the result of endless practice,” he said.
Asked about his future plans, Faiz said he would love to play in Europe if given the opportunity but admitted he was still under contract with Penang for now.
Faiz also created history by being the first Asian to be bestowed the award which was named after Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian football legend who enjoyed huge success with the great Real Madrid team of the 1950s and 60s, as well as with his national team.