Bene was born in Balatonújlak. He played his first international match against Yugoslavia on 14 October 1962, and his last against Czechoslovakia on 12 September 1979. He obtained 76 caps and scored 36 goals. He was bronze medallist at the European Championship of 1964, and a quarter-finalist at the World Cup of 1966 (at the latter event he was the top scorer of the Hungarian national team). Bene was named Footballer of the Year in 1969. He died in Budapest, after a lengthy treatment following a fall at the end of 2005. His son Ferenc Bene jr. is also a former player, currently working as a coach.