Puskas nominee signs with Brazilian second-tier club

Rio de Janeiro, Nov 12 (IANS) Wendell Lira, the clubless striker nominated for this year’s FIFA’s Puskas award, has signed with Brazilian second-tier outfit Vila Nova.

The club announced Lira’s signing on Wednesday, less than a week after he was shortlisted for the goal of the year accolade, reported Xinhua news agency.

“We have always liked the way he plays but until now we haven’t been able to sign him,” Vila Nova president Guto Veronez said.

The 26-year-old had been a free agent since September, having been released by non-league club Goianesia and Serie C side Tombense this year.

Lira, who last week expressed hope that the nomination would revive his career, vowed to repay Vila Nova’s faith.

“Football is my life. It’s difficult to be contracted for four or five months and then lose your job,” he said.

“I have been working out, running and training in the hope of finding a new club.”

The goal that brought Lira global fame was a twisting bicycle kick that helped Goianesia defeat Atletico Goianiense 2-1 in a Goias state league match in March.

Goianesia president Gustavo Carvalho said the club would commission a statue or bust of Lira to honor his achievement.

The Brazilian will compete for the Puskas award with nine other nominees, including Barcelona star Lionel Messi, Boca Juniors forward Carlos Tevez and US women’s midfielder Carli Lloyd.

The winner will be announced at the Ballon d’Or gala on January 11.

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