Flórián Albert

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The native form of this personal name is Albert Flórián. This article uses the Western name order.
Flórián Albert
Florian Albert in 1967.jpg
Flórián Albert (left) receiving the European Footballer of the Year award in 1967
Personal information
Full name Flórián Albert
Date of birth (1941-09-15)15 September 1941
Place of birth Hercegszántó, Hungary
Date of death 31 October 2011(2011-10-31) (aged 70)
Place of death Budapest, Hungary
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
1952–1958 Ferencváros
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1958–1974 Ferencváros 351 (256[1])
Total 351 (256)
National team
1959–1974 Hungary 75 (31)
Teams managed
1978–82 Al Ahly Benghazi
1985 Al Ahly Benghazi
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Flórián Albert (15 September 1941 – 31 October 2011) was a Hungarian international football player, later manager and sports official, who was named European Footballer of the Year in 1967. Nicknamed "The Emperor",[2][3] he has been described as one of the most elegant footballers of all time.[4]

A club legend of Ferencvárosi TC, Albert joined the team yet as a schoolboy and spent his whole playing career at Fradi. He also starred for Hungary, winning 75 international caps and scoring 31 goals. He was joint top-scorer at the 1962 World Cup with four goals and played a key role in Hungary's third-place finish at the European Championship in 1964.[5]

He stayed loyal to Ferencváros after his retirement as well, actively participated in the club's life and also held administrative positions. Since 2007 the stadium of Ferencváros bears his name.

Albert died in October 2011, aged 70, in a hospital in Budapest after complications following heart surgery carried out a few days earlier.[1][6]

Early life[edit]

The son of a blacksmith, Albert was born and brought up in the little town of Hercegszántó near the border with the former Yugoslavia, where he got his first taste of the game playing with his two brothers. His mother was Hungarian Croat, from the group of Šokci.[7] She died when he was 2.[7] When the family later moved to Budapest, Albert participated on a talent day held by Ferencvárosi TC.[8] He impressed the coaches and was selected by club. Albert was 11 years old at the time.[7]

Career[edit]

Albert spent his entire club career with Ferencvárosi TC, where he played from 1952[7] to 1974. He came through the ranks quickly and made his debut in the senior team on 2 November 1958 against Diósgyőr, in a match in which he hit the back of the net two times. The forward was also spotted by Hungarian national team manager Lajos Baróti in a youth match between Hungary and Yugoslavia,[9] and not much later Albert already received his first call-up. His first appearance in the national selection came on 28 June 1959 against Sweden, who finished runners-up in the World Cup a year earlier. Albert contributed with two assist to Hungary's 3–2 win over the Scandinavians. He scored 31 goals in 75 caps for the Hungarian team, with them he has collected the bronze medal on both of the Olympic Games in 1960 and the European Championship in 1964. At the 1962 World Cup, despite Hungary being knocked out in the quarter-finals, Albert, tied with five others, managed to win the Golden Boot Award with four goals.

On club level, his biggest success came in 1965, when in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Ferencváros, that knocked-out among others AS Roma and Manchester United F.C. en route to the final, triumphed over Juventus F.C. 1–0 in the decisive match and obtained the cup title.[1]

Albert appeared in his next World event in 1966 in England, where he produced an excellent display against Brazil in a duel that is regarded as one of the greatest matches in the history of the World Cup.[2][10] The Magyars, after lost to Portugal in their first round encounter, entered the match against Brazil as a must-win. Hungary eventually beat the South Americans 3–1, to keep alive their hopes, and Albert, who received a standing ovation from the supporters, made the fans forget the absence of Pelé with his performance.[10] By winning their final group match, Hungary made it to the quarter-finals, just to fall short against the Soviet Union.

The year 1967 was a special one for Albert, who not only won the Hungarian Championship with Ferencváros and collected the Hungarian Player of the Year title, but in December first celebrated the birth of his son, and later he was awarded the Ballon d'Or in recognition of his outstanding attributes.[2][10] Albert topped the voting with 68 points, twenty-eight ahead of Bobby Charlton, who came second.[8]

In 1968 Albert appeared in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final again, this time against Leeds United, but lost by a one-goal margin (0–1). On 15 June 1969, in a World Cup qualifier against Denmark, Albert collided with Knud Engedal, goalkeeper of the Scandinavians, and suffered a serious fractured leg injury. Following that he was sidelined for almost a year and could never win back his form any more.[11] Albert returned into action in the Hungarian Championship on 27 April 1970 against Salgótarján and on 4 April 1971 he played his first international match after the injury, a friendly match against Austria. His final major event was the 1972 European Championship, where he captured fourth place with Hungary, recording two appearances in the tournament. In the same year he captured the Hungarian Cup title for the first time, thus making his collection of domestic silverware complete.

Albert played his final league match on 17 March 1974 against Zalaegerszeg. He came on as a substitute in the second half and contributed to the 3–0 victory with a goal, the last one in his career. Albert, after receiving greetings and gifts from the old boys, the opponents and his son, ran to the stands, bowed for the fans and left the field on the shoulders of his teammates.[8][12]

Following his retirement, he had two short spells as a manager in Libya with Al-Ahly Benghazi, however, with only limited success. After returning from North Africa, Albert worked for Ferencváros in several positions, such as technical director, department leader and later honorary chairman. In 2007, Ferencváros' stadium was named after him.[13] In the same year, he received a prize in his village of birth, Hercegszántó, becoming an honorable citizen.[7] In 2010 Budapest, a year later, Ferencváros awarded him honorary citizenship.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Albert married Irén Bársony, an actress, on 30 November 1963. The couple had two children, a girl, Magdolna, and a son, Flórián Albert, Jr., who, like his father, became a football player with Ferencváros, and later had spells in Israel and France and also played for the Hungarian national team. Albert's grandchild, Flórián Patrik, aims to become a professional footballer as well.[15]

Death[edit]

Farewell from Flórián Albert in front of the stadium named after him

On 27 October 2011, Flórián, after suffering a vasoconstriction, underwent coronary artery bypass surgery. Although a press release the following day by his former club Ferencváros stated that the operation had been successful,[16] he subsequently suffered a heart attack and died in the early hours of 31 October 2011.[1]

His funeral took place on 6 November 2011 in the Cemetery of Óbuda. Hundreds of mourners accompanied Albert to his final rest, including Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary; Pál Schmitt, President of Hungary; Sándor Csányi, president of the Hungarian Football Federation; Gábor Kubatov, president of Ferencvárosi TC; and former team mates Kálmán Mészöly, Gyula Rákosi, Lajos Szűcs and Tibor Nyilasi. The event was also live broadcast by Hungarian public television Magyar Televízió.[17][18]

In the afternoon same day, Ferencváros played a league clash against Paksi SE. Before the match the floodlights were switched off and the stadium turned into dark, with candles lit by the fans are being the only lights in the arena. Ferencváros players wore a special all-black kit in the occasion and fans paid tribute to Albert with a banner saying "God shall be with you Emperor".[17][19] Supporters of SK Rapid Wien, who have close ties with Ferencváros, also shown honor to Albert with a transparent in their game against SV Ried.[20]

The friendly match against Liechtenstein played on 11 November was declared a memorial game for Albert by the Hungarian Football Federation. The clash was originally scheduled to take place at the Sóstói Stadion, but later was moved to the Ferenc Puskás Stadium to give more people the opportunity to attend the event. In the four corners of the arena memorial places were erected, where the supporters could pay their tribute to the Golden Ball winner. A five-minute-long compilation of the best moments of Albert was also projected before the kick-off.[21]

Hungary eventually won the match 5–0 in front of a sold-out crowd with goals by Dzsudzsák (2), Priskin, Koman and Feczesin. Dzsudzsák commented after the match that he is sure that Flórián would have been happy if he could have seen the match, and added, he hopes they rejoiced him in Heaven.[22]

Career statistics[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hungary League Hungarian Cup League Cup Europe Total
1958-59 Ferencvárosi TC National Championship I 15 6
1959-60 26 27
1960-61 26 21
1961-62 22 17
1962-63 21 11
1963 12 11
1964 16 19
1965 24 27
1966 25 24
1967 27 28
1968 27 19
1969 13 11
1970 8 4
1970-71 24 7
1971-72 30 15
1972-73 26 6
1973-74 9 2
Total Hungary 351 255
Career total 351 255

Source

Hungary national team
Year Apps Goals
1959 6 5
1960 6 2
1961 9 4
1962 9 5
1963 9 4
1964 6 6
1965 5 1
1966 9 2
1967 6 1
1968 1 0
1969 3 1
1970 0 0
1971 3 0
1972 2 0
1973 0 0
1974 1 0
Total 75 31

Source

Honors[edit]

  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup 1965 (predecessor of UEFA Cup)
  • Hungarian League 1963, 1964, 1967 and 1968
  • Hungarian Cup 1972
  • World Cups: 2 participations, 7 matches, 4 goals (1962–1966)
  • Best Young Player Award World Cup 1962
  • Top Scorer: World Cup (Golden Boot) 1962 (shared with five other players at 4 goals)
  • Top Scorer: Fairs Cup 1967
  • Top Scorer: Hungarian Championship 1960, 1961, 1965
  • Hungarian Footballer of the Year 1966, 1967
  • France Football Ballon d'Or Winner (European Footballer of the Year) 1967
  • Officier's Cross of Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary 1994
  • Middle Cross of the Order Merit of the Republic of Hungary 2011
  • Sportperson of the Nation (A Nemzet Sportolója) 2004
  • The stadium of Ferencvarosi TC was renamed to Albert-stadium in his honor in 2007
  • Honorable Citizen of Hercegszántó 2007
  • Honorable Citizen of Budapest 2010
  • Honorable Citizen of Ferencváros 2011

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Elhunyt Albert Flórián" [Flórián Albert deceased] (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport Online. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "World Cup Best Young Player – 1962 Florian ALBERT (HUN)". FIFA.com. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Hungarian great Florian Albert dies aged 70". Liverpool Echo. 1 Nov 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Hungarian Ballon d'Or winner Albert dies". UEFA. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hungary & Ferencvaros legend Florian Albert dies aged 70". goal.com. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "World Football - Hungarian great Albert dies". Yahoo! Eurosport. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e (Croatian) Hrvatski glasnik br.33/2007. Počasni građanin Santova, 16 August 2007, p. 5
  8. ^ a b c "Albert Flórián a jó foci titkáról" [Flórán Albert about the secret of good football] (in Hungarian). Hetek. 5 August 2000. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Az utolsó Üllői úti Császár – portrait film about Flórián Albert" (in Hungarian). Hungarian Television Video Archives. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d "The eternal elegance of Florian Albert". FIFA.com. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Elhunyt Albert Flórián, az egyetlen magyar aranylabdás" [Flórián Albert, the only Hungarian Golden Ball winner deceased]. Origo. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Albert sírva búcsúzott, majd meghajolt a közönség előtt" (in Hungarian). Samsungsport.hu. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Ferencvaros stadium renamed after Florian Albert". Budapest Times. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Ferencváros díszpolgára lett Albert Flórián". Hungarian Press Agency (in Hungarian). Origo. 8 October 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "A három Albert Flórián együtt volt a Puskás Akadémia vendége" [The three Flórián Albert together were guests of the Puskas Academy]. pfla.hu (in Hungarian). FourFourTwo. 29 August 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Meghalt Albert Flórián" [Flórián Albert died] (in Hungarian). Heti Világgazdaság. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "Ferencvaros held 0-0 after Albert funeral". Yahoo! Eurosport. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Örök nyugalomra helyezték Albert Flóriánt" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport Online. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Az FTC gól nélküli döntetlennel búcsúzott a Császártól" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport Online. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Ausztria: a bécsi zöld-fehérek is elköszöntek Albert Flóriántól" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport Online. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Telt házas tisztelgés Albert Flórián emléke előtt" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "Győztes tisztelgés Albert Flórián emléke előtt" (in Hungarian). Nemzeti Sport. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bobby Charlton
European Footballer of the Year
1967
Succeeded by
George Best
Preceded by
Just Fontaine
FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe
1962
Shared with:
Dražan Jerković,
Garrincha, Vavá,
Valentin Ivanov and
Leonel Sánchez
Succeeded by
Eusébio