When Dundalk met Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium in front of a record-breaking crowd, no one would have thought they were about to witness, as Dietmar Hamann described, the ‘goal of the century’.
The man who, notwithstanding an overhead kick from the halfway line, will win the FIFA Puskás Award is Mr Jordan Flores.
The goal was shared straight away by RTÉ Soccer on their official Twitter account and has racked up over 5 million views on the platform alone.
Shamrock Rovers 1-1 Dundalk – Wow! Jordan Flores scores a goal of the season contender to level things at Tallaght. You’ll be watching this goal for years to come. #rtesocer pic.twitter.com/tIhtCrKfml
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) February 28, 2020
Flores is a graduate of the Wigan Athletic academy and made 12 appearances for his boyhood club before making the move to Dundalk.
As with most stories, the journey has not been plain sailing and while speaking to The Athletic, Flores admitted after being involved in a serious car accident in 2014, doctors informed him he ‘wouldn’t play football again’.
At the time of the crash, Flores was playing regularly on-loan at Chesterfield and was hoping his impressive form for The Spireites would earn him a spot in the Wigan team the following season.
Naturally, Flores had to put a pause on his football career as all attention turned towards his rehabilitation. The road was a bumpy one but against all the odds, he was able to get back to playing the game he loved.
His first mission was to get match fit and to do so, Flores was sent on loan to non-league outfit, AFC Fylde. While at The Coasters, he was unable to make his mark and only made one appearance for the club, that coming as a left-back in a 2-0 loss to Dagenham & Redbridge.
The loan spell was cut short and Flores made the bold move to join up with Ian Burchnall at Östersund FK in Sweden, the club formerly managed by Brighton boss Graham Potter. Moving to Sweden to get match fit? A totally normal thing to do…
It’s safe to say that loan spell was as successful as his one at Flyde and following that move, he was released by Wigan.
So following a horrific car accident and miserable loan spells in the English non-league system and in Sweden, you would imagine very few clubs would show the faith and patience Flores needed to get back to his best.
That’s where the Lilywhites stepped in. Vinny Perth made the plunge and signed the Wigan academy product in January 2019 and, after a stop-start career, Flores has finally found himself a place he can call home.
As well as scoring that unbelievable goal against Shamrock, the game also marked the first time he had started three consecutive games since the crash.
So in addition to his dazzling displays on the football pitch, Flores needs to pick a suit to rival Lionel Messi’s for The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony.
Good luck with that one, Jordan!