Faiz Subri catapulted Malaysia to one of its biggest sporting achievements when he clinched the FIFA Puskas award for goal of the year at the 2016 FIFA Football Awards in Zurich on Monday night.
He became the first Asian player to claim the prestigious prize, and would rub shoulders with his heroes Cristiano Ronaldo and Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Penang forward's astonishing, physics-defying free kick in a Malaysia Super League game last February topped the global votes with 59.46 percent, ahead of Corinthians' midfielder Marlone 22.86 per cent, and Venezuela female star Daniuska Rodriguez with 10.01 percent.
The goal was the second scored by Faiz in Penang's 4-1 victory over Pahang on Feb. 16.
Semoga dipermudahkan urusan.. #fs13#siralex#zurich#puskas2016 #insyaallah
A photo posted by faiz subri (@faiz_subri13) on
"Honestly, it never crossed my mind that I would be able to stand here for the best, world-class goal of 2016," said Faiz in his acceptance speech.
"I would like to thank the Penang Football Association, the Professional Footballers Association Malaysia, FAM, my family, my father, my mother, and everyone who voted for me."
Faiz's humble reaction to his victory was a memorable part of a glittering awards' ceremony that honoured football's biggest global identities.
After his historic triumph was announced by three-time World Player of the Year Ronaldo Luis Nazario of Brazil, Faiz cut a sheepish figure as he slowly made his way to the stage.
Decked in a dapper, black tuxedo, the diminutive winger flashed a huge smile as he took out his mobile phone in search of his acceptance speech.
It was quite the wait as he scrolled through his device, prompting German host Marco Schreyl to quip, "Do you need some help?"
His co-host and Hollywood actress Eva Longoria chimed in by saying "He's just checking his text."
Faiz eventually found it, took a deep breath, and delivered the most-watched speech he will ever give in his life.
The 29-year-old was honoured based on the votes of football fans around the world, who thought his goal was the best in football in 2016.
Faiz be now be mentioned in the same breath as newly crowned FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona star Neymar and Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who have all been previously honoured by FIFA for their incredible goals.
The unparalleled achievement came after Faiz expertly executed a dead ball with the outside of his boot from 35 metres. It was a hit which took a sudden swerve in mid-air, and landed in the top corner of Pahang's goal in a Penang home match.
There were many debates on the intent of his strike, but Faiz emphasised the skill of his achievement.
"That goal is my hard work in training. It is definitely the best goal I have ever scored," he said shyly, in the post-award interview, also not discounting the possibility of one day playing in Europe.
"If there is a chance, of course I would love to play there. But for now, I have a contract and am committed to Penang."
After the awards' ceremony, Faiz was congratulated by some of the heavyweights of world football, including Manchester United's legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Sir Alex toured Malaysia with Manchester United in 2009 when Faiz was with his first senior club, Tambun Tulang FC.
Before Faiz is expected to arrive home on Wednesday from Switzerland with his wife and two children, his Penang teammates will host a preseason game on Tuesday night against PDRM FA.