Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskás (Hungarian: [ˈfɛrɛnt͡s ˈpuʃkaːʃ], UK: /ˌfɛrɛnts ˈpʊʃkəʃ, ˈpʊʃkæʃ/ FERR-ents PUUSH-kəsh, PUUSH-kash;[1][2][3]Ferenc Puskás;[4] 1 April 1927[5] – 17 November 2006) was a Hungarian footballer and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and the sport's first international superstar.[6] A prolific forward, he scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, played four international matches for Spain and scored 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He became an Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup. He won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966), 10 national championships (5 Hungarian and 5 Spanish Primera División) and 8 top individual scoring honors. In 1995, he was recognized as the greatest top division scorer of the 20th century by the IFFHS.[7][8][9] With 808 goals in official games scored during his career, he is the third top goalscorer of all time.[10]

Ferenc Puskás
Puskás as Panathinaikos manager in 1971
Personal information
Birth name Ferenc Purczeld
Date of birth (1927-04-01)1 April 1927
Place of birth Budapest, Hungary
Date of death 17 November 2006(2006-11-17) (aged 79)
Place of death Budapest, Hungary
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Position(s) Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1956 Budapest Honvéd[lower-alpha 1] 350 (358)
1958–1966 Real Madrid 180 (156)
Total 530 (514)
National team
1945–1956 Hungary 85 (84)
1961–1962 Spain 4 (0)
Teams managed
1966–1967 Hércules
1967 San Francisco Golden Gate Gales
1968 Vancouver Royals
1968–1969 Alavés
1970–1974 Panathinaikos
1975 Real Murcia
1975–1976 Colo-Colo
1976–1977 Saudi Arabia
1978–1979 AEK Athens
1979–1982 Al Masry
1985–1986 Sol de América
1986–1989 Cerro Porteño
1989–1992 South Melbourne Hellas
1993 Hungary
Honours
Men's football
Representing  Hungary
Olympic Games
1952 Helsinki
FIFA World Cup
Runner-up1954 Switzerland
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He was the son of former footballer Ferenc Puskás Senior. Puskás started his career in Hungary playing for Kispest and Budapest Honvéd. He was the top scorer in the Hungarian League on four occasions and in 1948 he was the top goal scorer in Europe. During the 1950s, he was both a prominent member and captain of the Hungarian national team, known as the Mighty Magyars. In 1958, two years after the Hungarian Revolution, he emigrated to Spain where he played for Real Madrid. While playing with Real Madrid, Puskás won four Pichichis and scored seven goals in two European Champions Cup finals.

After retiring as a player, he became a coach. The highlight of his coaching career came in 1971 when he guided Panathinaikos to the European Cup final, where they lost 2–0 to AFC Ajax. In 1993, he returned to Hungary and took temporary charge of the Hungarian national team.[11] In 1998, he became one of the first ever FIFA/SOS Charity ambassadors.[12] In 2002, the Népstadion in Budapest was renamed the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in his honor.[13] He was also declared the best Hungarian player of the last 50 years by the Hungarian Football Federation in the UEFA Jubilee Awards in November 2003.[14] In October 2009, FIFA announced the introduction of the FIFA Puskás Award, awarded to the player who has scored the "most beautiful goal" over the past year. He was also listed in Pelé's FIFA 100.

Career in Hungary

Early years

Ferenc Puskás with Ger Lagendijk

Ferenc Purczeld was born on 1 April 1927 to a German (Danube Swabian) family in Budapest and brought up in Kispest, then a suburb, today part of the city. His mother, Margit Biró (1904–1976), was a seamstress. He began his career as a junior with Kispest AC,[13] where his father, who had previously played for the club, was a coach. He had grandchildren, who were the children of his brothers son; the two sons of his brother are Zoltán and István, Zoltán with 3 children; Ilonka, Camila and Andrés, and István with two.

He changed his name to Ferenc Puskás. He initially used the pseudonym "Miklós Kovács" to help circumvent the minimum age rules[15] before officially signing at the age of 12. Among his early teammates was his childhood friend and future international teammate József Bozsik. He made his first senior appearance for Kispest in November 1943 in a match against Nagyváradi AC.[16] It was here where he received the nickname "Öcsi" or "Buddy".[17]

Kispest was taken over by the Hungarian Ministry of Defence in 1949, becoming the Hungarian Army team and changing its name to Budapest Honvéd. As a result, football players were given military ranks. Puskás eventually became a major (Hungarian: Őrnagy), which led to the nickname "The Galloping Major".[18] As the army club, Honvéd used conscription to acquire the best Hungarian players leading to the recruitment of Zoltán Czibor and Sándor Kocsis.[19] During his career at Budapest Honvéd, Puskás helped the club win five Hungarian League titles. He also finished as top goal scorer in the league in 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950 and 1953, scoring 50, 31, 25 and 27 goals, respectively. In 1948, he was the top goal scorer in Europe.[20]

Mighty Magyars

The Golden Team in 1953
front row: Mihály Lantos, Ferenc Puskás, Gyula Grosics
back row: Gyula Lóránt, Jenő Buzánszky, Nándor Hidegkuti, Sándor Kocsis, József Zakariás, Zoltán Czibor, József Bozsik, László Budai

Puskás made his debut for Hungary team on 20 August 1945 and scored in a 5–2 win over Austria.[21] He went on to play 85 games and scored 84 times for Hungary. His international goal record included two hat tricks against Austria, one against Luxembourg and four goals in a 12–0 win over Albania.[22] Together with Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik, and Nándor Hidegkuti, he formed the nucleus of the Golden Team that was to remain unbeaten for 32 consecutive games.[23] During this run, they became Olympic Champions in 1952, beating Yugoslavia 2–0 in the final in Helsinki. Puskás scored four times at the Olympic tournament,[22] including the opening goal in the final. They also defeated England twice, first with a 6–3 win at Wembley Stadium.,[21] and then 7–1 in Budapest. Puskás scored two goals in each game against England. In 1953, they also became Central European Champions. Hungary won the championship after finishing top of the table with 11 points. Puskás finished the tournament as top scorer with 10 goals and scored twice as Hungary claimed the trophy with a 3–0 win over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in 1953.

Puskás scored three goals in the two first-round matches Hungary played at the 1954 FIFA World Cup. They defeated South Korea 9–0 and then West Germany 8–3. In the latter game, he suffered a hairline fracture of the ankle after a tackle by Werner Liebrich, and did not return until the final.

Puskás played the entire 1954 World Cup final against West Germany with a hairline fracture. Despite this, he scored his fourth goal of the tournament to put Hungary ahead after six minutes, and with Czibor adding another goal two minutes later, it seemed that the pre-tournament favorites would take the title. However, the West Germans pulled back two goals before half time, with six minutes left the West Germans scored the winner. Two minutes from the end of the match Puskás scored a late equalizer but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.[24]

Ferenc Puskás’ statistics in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

The scores contain links to the article on football in the Helsinki Olympics and the round in question.

Game no. Round Date Opponent Puskás’ playing time Score Puskás’ goals Score Times Venue Report
1Prel. R.15 July 1952 Romania90 min.2–1 (1–0)0Kupittaa, Turku[25]
21st R21 July 1952 Italy90 min.3–0 (2–0)0Pallokenttä, Helsinki[26]
3QF24 July 1952 Turkey90 min7–1 (2–0)24–0
6–1
 54'
 72'
Urheilukeskus, Kotka[27]
4SF28 July 1952 Sweden90 min6–0 (3–0)11–0 1'Helsinki Olympic Stadium[28]
5Final2 August 1952 Yugoslavia90 min2–0 (0–0)11–0 70'Helsinki Olympic Stadium[29]

Ferenc Puskás’ statistics at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland

The scores contain links to the article on 1954 FIFA World Cup and the round in question. When there is a special article on the match in question, the link is in the column for round.

Game no. Round Date Opponent Puskás’ playing time Score Puskás’ goals Score Times Venue Report
1Group 217 June 1954 South Korea90 min.9–0 (4–0)21–0
9–0
 12'
 89'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich[30]
2Group 220 June 1954 West Germany90 min8–3 (3–1)12–0 17'St. Jakob Stadium, Basel[31]
QF27 June 1954 BrazilDid not play4–2 (2–1)0Wankdorf Stadium, Bern[32]
SF30 June 1954 UruguayDid not play4–2 (a.e.t.)
(2–2, 1–0)
0Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne[33]
3Final4 July 1954 West Germany90 min2–3 (2–2)11–0 6'Wankdorf Stadium, Bern[34]

Honvéd World Tour

Nándor Hidegkuti and Ferenc Puskás in 1954

Budapest Honvéd entered the European Cup in 1956 and were drawn against Atlético Bilbao in the first round. Honvéd lost the away leg 2–3, but before the home leg could be played, the Hungarian Revolution erupted in Budapest. The players decided against going back to Hungary and arranged for the return with Atlético to be played at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.[23] Puskás scored in the subsequent 3–3 draw but Honvéd were eliminated 6–5 on aggregate, and the Hungarian players were left in limbo. They summoned their families from Budapest, and despite opposition from FIFA and the Hungarian football authorities, they organised a fundraising tour of Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Brazil. After returning to Europe, the players parted ways. Some, including Bozsik, returned to Hungary while others, including Czibor, Kocsis and Puskás, found new clubs in Western Europe.[35] Puskás did not return to Hungary until 1981.[36]

Spanish career

In Spain is known also under the nickname of Pancho.

Real Madrid

Ferenc Puskás with Alfredo Di Stéfano
Puskás's player licence, showing his mother's maiden name Biró as a second surname in accordance with Spanish naming customs

After refusing to return to Hungary, Puskás initially played a few unofficial games for RCD Espanyol. At the same time, both AC Milan and Juventus attempted to sign him, but then he received a two-year ban from UEFA (for refusing to return to Budapest[37]) which prevented him from playing in Europe. He moved to Austria and then Italy.[23] After his ban, Puskás tried to play in Italy but was not able to find a top-flight club willing to sign him, as Italian managers were concerned about his age and weight.[19] He was considered by Manchester United to strengthen a squad ravaged by the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, but because of FA rules regarding foreigners and Puskás' not knowing the English language, stand-in manager Jimmy Murphy could not fulfill his wish of signing the Hungarian. However, a few months later, Puskás joined Real Madrid and at the age of 31 embarked on the second phase of his career.

During his first La Liga season, Puskás scored four hat-tricks, including one in his second game, against Sporting de Gijón on 21 September 1958. In the game against UD Las Palmas on 4 January 1959, Puskás and Alfredo di Stéfano scored hat-tricks in a 10–1 win.[38] During the 1960–61 season, Puskás scored four times in a game against Elche CF and the following season, he scored five goals against the same team. Puskás scored two hat-tricks against FC Barcelona in 1963, one at the Bernabéu and one at the Camp Nou. During eight seasons with Real, Puskás played 180 La Liga games and scored 156 goals. He scored 20 or more goals in each of his first six seasons in the Spanish league, and won the Pichichi four times: in 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964, scoring 25, 28, 26 and 21 goals, respectively. He helped Real win La Liga five times in a row between 1961 and 1965 and the Copa del Generalísimo in 1962. He scored both goals in the 2–1 victory over Sevilla FC in the Copa final.

Puskás also played a further 39 games for Real in the European Cup, scoring 35 goals. He helped Real reach the final of the 1959 European Cup, scoring in the first leg and in the decisive replay of the semi-final against Atlético Madrid, but missed the final due to injury. In the following season he began Real's 1960 European Cup campaign with a hat-trick against Jeunesse Esch and in the semi-final against FC Barcelona, he once again guided Real into the final with three goals over two legs. In the final itself, Real beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7–3 with Puskás scoring four goals[13] and di Stéfano scoring three. In subsequent European campaigns, he would score a further three hat-tricks, including one in the 1962 final against Benfica, which Real lost 5–3. In 1965, he scored five goals over two games against Feyenoord as he helped Real Madrid to the 1966 European Cup final – Real won the game against Partizan Belgrade, but Puskás did not play in the final.

Spanish national appearances

In 1962, Puskás took Spanish nationality,[39] and subsequently played four times for Spain. Three of these games were at the 1962 World Cup. In Spain he was known as Canoncito Pum (the booming cannon).[36]

Appearance for South Liverpool

In 1967, at the age of 40, he appeared in a fundraising friendly game for South Liverpool, the English non-League side, in front of a 10,000-strong sell-out crowd at the club's Holly Park stadium.[40]

Management career

Statue of Ferenc Puskás in Budapest inspired by a photograph taken in Madrid in which the legendary player was teaching an ad hoc course in keepie uppie to street children

After retiring as a player, Puskás became a coach and managed teams in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

In 1971, he guided Panathinaikos of Greece to the European Cup final, the only time a Greek club has reached a European final to date. In the qualifying rounds they beat Everton in the quarter-finals on away goals, then defeated Red Star Belgrade in the semis. In the final Panathinaikos lost 2–0 to Johan Cruyff's Ajax.[41] During his four-year tenure at Panathinaikos, Puskás helped the team secure one Greek Championship in 1972. However, with the notable exception of his spell at Panathinaikos, Puskás failed to transfer his success as a player to his coaching career. Despite his wide travels, his only other success came with South Melbourne Hellas, with whom he won the National Soccer League title in 1991.

When Wolverhampton Wanderers opened their renovated stadium Molineux in 1993, Puskás visited the newly opened stadium as an honorary guest to watch the friendly match between Wolves and Budapest Honvéd, which was a match to christen the new opening of the stadium. This was because in the 1950s, Wolves played a game against Honvéd in a memorable friendly match, which Puskás played in. Wolves won the 1954 match 3–2, with the 1993 match ending in a 1–1 draw.

Puskás returned to Hungary for the first time in 1981 and in 1990, he made Budapest his home again.[36] In 1993, he took charge of the Hungarian national football team for four games, including a 4–2 friendly victory against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, where Hungary came from two goals down to eventually beat their opponents.[42]

Later life and death

Puskás's tomb at the St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest

Puskás was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2000.[43] He was admitted to a Budapest hospital in September 2006[44] and died on 17 November 2006[43] of pneumonia. He was 79 years old and was survived by his wife of 57 years, Erzsébet,[45] and their daughter, Anikó.[46] In a state funeral, his coffin was moved from Puskás Ferenc Stadion to Heroes' Square for a military salute. He was buried under the dome of the St Stephen's Basilica in Budapest on 9 December 2006.

Legacy

  • The Népstadion in Budapest was renamed the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in 2002.[13]
  • Asteroid 82656 Puskás, discovered by Krisztián Sárneczky and Gyula M. Szabó in 2001, was named in his honor.[47] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 9 August 2006 (MPC 57425).[48]
  • A street named Újtemető utca near Stadium Bozsik in the Hungarian capital of Budapest (specifically the district of Kispest) was renamed after Puskás precisely one year after the footballer's death.
  • The new Puskás Aréna, its metro station, Puskás Akadémia FC, Puskás Cup, and the FIFA Puskás Award all bear his name.
  • A statue of Puskás was unveiled in 2017 in Melbourne, Australia, near the former site of the now demolished Olympic Park Stadium, where he led South Melbourne Hellas to the 1991 NSL Championship as manager.

Honours

Club

Puskás (right) as special guest along with Alfredo Di Stéfano (left) in a tribute to László Kubala, August 1961
Puskás with Feyenoord's Piet Kruiver after losing to Real Madrid 5–0, September 1965

Budapest Honvéd

  • Nemzeti Bajnokság I: 1949–50, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955

Real Madrid

  • La Liga: 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65
  • Copa del Generalísimo: 1961–62
  • European Cup: 1958–59, 1959–60, 1965–66
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1960

International

Hungary

  • Summer Olympics: 1952
  • Balkan Cup: 1947
  • Central European Champions: 1953
  • FIFA World Cup runners-up: 1954

Individual

  • Ballon d'Or Silver Award: 1960[49]
  • Hungarian Football Federation Player of the Year: 1950[50]
  • Central European International Cup top scorer: 1954
  • Hungarian top scorer: 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950, 1953
  • Spanish League top scorer (Pichichi Trophy): 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64
  • European Cup top scorer : 1959–60, 1963–64
  • Golden Boot of the World: 1948
  • World Soccer Player of the Year: 1953[51]
  • World Soccer World XI: 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963[52]
  • 1954 FIFA World Cup: Golden Ball
  • 1954 FIFA World Cup: All-Star Team
  • European Player of the 20th century – L'Equipe
  • Hungarian Player of the 20th century – IFFHS[53]
  • Football's Top Scorer of the 20th century – IFFHS
  • Member of the FIFA 100
  • UEFA Golden Player: Greatest Hungarian Footballer of the last 50 Years
  • Inaugural Inductee into Goal Hall of Fame 2014
  • Top 10 Greatest Players of the 20th century (#7) – World Soccer Magazine
  • Top 10 World's Best Players of the 20th century (#6) – IFFHS[53]
  • Top 10 Europe's Best Players of the 20th century (#4) – IFFHS[53]
  • Golden Foot: 2006 (as a legend)[54]
  • IFFHS Legends[55]

Manager

Panathinaikos

Sol de América

  • Paraguayan Primera División: 1986

South Melbourne Hellas

  • National Soccer League: 1990–91
  • NSL Cup: 1989–90
  • Dockerty Cup: 1989, 1991

Career statistics

Club

Source:[56]

Performance Liga National Cups Continental Total
Season Club League MatchesGoals MatchesGoals MatchesGoals MatchesGoals
Hungary Nemzeti Bajnokság I Magyar Kupa Europe Total
1943–44KispestNemzeti Bajnokság I187----187
1944–4521----21
1944116----116
19452010----2010
1945–463436----3436
1946–472932----2932
1947–483150----3150
1948–492846----2846
1949–50Budapesti
Honvéd SE
Nemzeti Bajnokság I3031----3031
19501525----1525
1951212124--2325
19522622----2622
19532627312--2939
19542021----2021
1955261864443625
1956135--21156
Spain La Liga Copa del Generalísimo European Cup Total
1958–59Real MadridLa Liga242152523425
1959–6024255107123647
1960–612828914424144
1961–622320813974040
1962–63302675203931
1963–64252100873328
1964–65181144322517
1965–668431351410
CountryHungary 350358112065367383
Spain 18015641494137262242
Total 53051452694742629625

International

Source:[57][58][59]

Hungary
YearAppsGoals
194523
194633
194755
194867
1949811
1950612
195134
19521210
195376
1954118
19551210
195694
Total8584
Spain
YearAppsGoals
196110
196230
Total40

International appearances for Spain

DateVenueOpponentScoreCompetition
12 November 1961Casablanca, Casablanca, Morocco Morocco1–01962 FIFA World Cup qualification
31 May 1962Estadio Sausalito, Viña del Mar, Chile Czechoslovakia0–11962 FIFA World Cup
3 June 1962Estadio Sausalito, Viña del Mar, Chile Mexico1–01962 FIFA World Cup
6 June 1962Estadio Sausalito, Viña del Mar, Chile Brazil1–21962 FIFA World Cup

See also

  • Golden Team
  • Puskás Cup
  • FIFA Puskás Award
  • List of top international association football goal scorers by country
  • List of men's association football players with 50 or more international goals
  • List of Soviet and Eastern Bloc defectors
  • List of Spain international footballers born outside Spain
  • List of association football families

Notes

  1. Before 1950 the club name was Kispesti A.C.

References

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  • (Autobiography) Ferenc Puskas: Captain of Hungary: Ferenc Puskas (1955). Reprinted in 2007
  • Behind the Curtain — Travels in Eastern European Football: Jonathan Wilson (2006)
  • The World Cup — The Complete History: Terry Crouch (2002)
  • 50 Years of the European Cup and Champions League: Keir Radnedge (2005)
  • Obituary in The Guardian by Brian Glanville, 18 November 2006

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