Feature:

Hungarian football’s greatest hero

Ferenc Puskas the best Hungarian footballer and probably one of the best the world has ever seen.

Puskas was born on April 2, 1927, in Budapest, Hungary. He scored an impressive 84 goals in his 85 international games for Hungary. He also scored 514 goals during his 529 games in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues.

Puskas started his career playing for Kispest and Honved in Hungary. He was top scorer in the Hungarian League on four occasions. In 1948 “The Galloping Major” was the top goal scorer in Europe.

Puskas had an incomparable left foot and his skills were not like anything else before. He was named “The Booming Cannon” and “The Galloping Major”.

Puskas was captain of the Hungarian national football team, known as “The Mighty Magyars” during the 1950s but emigrated to Spain in 1958, following the Hungarian Revolution. He made only 4 appearances during his time with the Spanish national team.

In 1953, he created turmoil during a match against England at the Wembley Stadium in London. Hungary gave England a football lesson when beating them 6-3 and becoming the first non-UK team to defeat them at home. In 1954 the two countries faces each other again, then the Magyars managed to win 7-1 at home in Budapest, a result that is still England’s heaviest ever defeat in international football. Puskas scored two goals in each of the games against England.

Puskas’ also had his share of frustrations when he was unable to win the 1954 World Cup final against West Germany. Hungary lost 3-2, but Puskas had a controversial call against him, when a goal was disallowed for offside, just two minutes from full-time.

He joined Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1958, and together with Alfredo Di Stefano, they became the pillars at the best team in Europe at the time. One of his outstanding accomplishments was during the European Cup Final in 1960 at Hampden Park. They won 7-3 against German side Eintracht Frankfurt. Puskas scored four goals while Di Stefano scored the other three for Real Madrid.

During his time at Real Madrid he scored a total of 157 goals in 182 appearances.

In 1966, Ferenc Puskas retired as a football player and started his coaching career. During his career he managed team in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

In 1971 Puskas managed to guide Greek giants Panathinaikos to the European Cup final, the only time ever for the club. The Greek side lost 2-0 to Johan Cruyff’s Ajax in the final at the Wembley Stadium in London, England. Puskas became a cult figure among Panathinaikos fans, following his success with the club.

Beside his time at Panathinaikos, Puskas failed to become a success as a coach. Puskas did not return to Hungary, until 1993 when he managed the Hungarian team for the World Cup qualifiers.

Puskas was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000. He died on 17 November 2006 of pneumonia and left behind his wife, Erzsebet, and their daughter, Aniko.

Puskas was given a state funeral and was laid to rest under the dome of the St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest on 9 December 2006.

Puskas continues to live on in the hearts of fans and players around the world.

Ferenc Puskas compilation:


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