Ferenc Puskás

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The native form of this personal name is Puskás Ferenc. This article uses the Western name order.
Ferenc Puskás
Ferenc Puskás.jpg
Ferenc Puskás in 1971 as coach of Panathinaikos F.C.
Personal information
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)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1955 Budapest Honvéd[1] 341 (352)
1958–1966 Real Madrid 180 (156)
Total 521 (508)
National team
1945–1956 Hungary 84[2] (83[2])
1961–1962 Spain 4 (0)
Teams managed
1967 San Francisco Golden Gate Gales
1968 Vancouver Royals
1968–1969 Deportivo 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

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Ferenc Puskás (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈfɛrɛnt͡s ˈpuʃkaːʃ], born Ferenc Purczeld; 1 April 1927[3] – 17 November 2006) was a Hungarian footballer and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. A prolific forward, he scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Puskás's Hungary career is often said to be 83 goals in 84 games[2] - the extra game and goal was from a match vs Lebanon that was played in 1956, however it was only recognised as an official game by the Hungarian FA in May 2002.[4] He became Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup where he was named the tournament's best player. He won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966), 10 national championships (5 Hungarian & 5 Spanish Primera División) and 8 top individual scoring honors.

Puskás started his career in Hungary playing for Kispest and Budapest Honvéd. He was 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. In 1995, he was recognized as the top scorer of the 20th century by the IFFHS.[5][6][7]

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. Despite his defection in 1956, the Hungarian government granted him a full pardon in 1993, allowing him to return and take temporary charge of the Hungarian national team.[8] In 1998, he became one of the first ever FIFA/SOS Charity ambassadors.[9] In 2002, the Népstadion in Budapest was renamed the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in his honor.[10] 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.[11] 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[edit]

Early years[edit]

Ferenc Puskás with Ger Lagendijk

Puskás was born as Ferenc Purczeld on 1 April 1927, in Budapest and brought up in Kispest, then a suburb, today part of the city. His father, Ferenc Puskás Sr. (1903–1952) was a Danube Swabian of German ethnicity, who Magyarized his family surname to "Puskás" in 1937.[12][13] His mother, Margit Biró (1904–1976), was a seamstress. He began his career as a junior with Kispest AC,[10] where his father, who had previously played for the club, was a coach. He had grandchildren's, whose were the children of his brother's son; the two sons of his brother are Zoltan and Istvan, the first one have 3 children; Ilonka, Camila and Andrés, and the second one have two, Matthias and Thomas.

He initially used the pseudonym "Miklós Kovács" to help circumvent the minimum age rules[14] 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.[15] It was here where he got the nickname "Öcsi" or "Buddy".[16]

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".[13] As the army club, Honvéd used conscription to acquire the best Hungarian players, leading to the recruitment of Zoltán Czibor and Sándor Kocsis.[17] 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.[18]

Mighty Magyars[edit]

Main article: Golden Team

Puskás made his debut for Hungary team on 20 August 1945 and scored in a 5–2 win over Austria.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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,[20] including the opening goal in the final. They also defeated England twice, first with a 6–3 win at Wembley Stadium.,[19] 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 the 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 appeared to score an equalizer but the goal was disallowed due to an offside call.[22]

Ferenc Puskás’ statistics in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics[edit]

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
1 Prel. R. 15 July 1952  Romania 90 min. 2–1 (1–0) 0 Kupittaa, Turku [23]
2 1st R 21 July 1952  Italy 90 min. 3–0 (2–0) 0 Pallokenttä, Helsinki [24]
3 QF 24 July 1952  Turkey 90 min 7–1 (2–0) 2 4–0
Goal 54'
Goal 72'
Urheilukeskus, Kotka [25]
4 SF 28 July 1952  Sweden 90 min 6–0 (3–0) 1 1–0 Goal 1' Helsinki Olympic Stadium [26]
5 Final 2 August 1952  Yugoslavia 90 min 2–0 (0–0) 1 1–0 Goal 70' Helsinki Olympic Stadium [27]

Ferenc Puskás’ statistics at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland[edit]

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
1 Group 2 17 June 1954  South Korea 90 min. 9–0 (4–0) 2 1–0
Goal 12'
Goal 89'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich [28]
2 Group 2 20 June 1954  West Germany 90 min 8–3 (3–1) 1 2–0 Goal 17' St. Jakob Stadium, Basel [29]
QF 27 June 1954  Brazil Did not play 4–2 (2–1) 0 Wankdorf Stadium, Bern [30]
SF 30 June 1954  Uruguay Did not play 4–2 (a.e.t.)
(2–2, 1–0)
0 Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne [31]
3 Final 4 July 1954  West Germany 90 min 2–3 (2–2) 1 1–0 Goal 6' Wankdorf Stadium, Bern [32]

Honvéd World Tour[edit]

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.[21] 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[clarification needed] 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.[33]

Spanish career[edit]

Real Madrid[edit]

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
Puskás at Real Madrid

After refusing to return to Hungary, Puskás initially played a few unofficial games for RCD Espanyol[citation needed]. 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[34]) which prevented him from playing in Europe. He moved to Austria and then Italy.[21] 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.[17] 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.[35] 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 26, 27, 26 and 20 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[10] 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[edit]

In 1962, Puskás took Spanish nationality,[36] and subsequently played four times for Spain. Three of these games were at the 1962 World Cup. For once, his goalscoring form deserted him and he failed to score any goals for Spain.

Appearance for South Liverpool[edit]

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.[37]

Management career[edit]

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 semi's. In the final Panathinaikos lost 2–0 to Johan Cruyff's Ajax.[38] 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 new 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 match 3–2.

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.[39]

Later life and death[edit]

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

Puskás was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2000.[40] He was admitted to a Budapest hospital in September 2006[41] and died on 17 November 2006[40] of pneumonia. He was 79 years old and was survived by his wife of 57 years, Erzsébet,[42] and their daughter, Anikó.[43] 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. Millions of Hungarians went to the streets to mourn him.

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.


Puskás with Feyenoord's Piet Kruiver after losing to Real Madrid C.F. 5–0
Hungarian stamp with Puskás (2008)





Career statistics[edit]


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hungary League Hungarian Cup Europe Total
1943–44 Kispest National
Championship I
18 7
1944 14 7
1945 20 10
1945–46 33 35
1946–47 30 32
1947–48 32 50
1948–49 30 46
1949–50 Budapesti
Honvéd SE
Championship I
30 31
1950 15 25
1951 21 21
1952 26 22
1953 26 27
1954 20 21
1955 26 18 4 4 30 22
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1958–59 Real Madrid La Liga 24 21 5 2 5 2 34 25
1959–60 24 25 5 10 7 12 36 47
1960–61 28 28 9 14 2 0 39 42
1961–62 23 20 8 13 9 7 40 40
1962–63 30 26 7 5 2 0 39 31
1963–64 25 21 0 0 8 7 33 28
1964–65 18 11 4 4 3 2 25 17
1965–66 8 4 3 1 3 5 14 10
Country Hungary 341 352 11 17 6 5 358 374
Spain 180 156 41 49 41 37 262 242
Total 521 508 52 66 47 42 620 616


[2][49] [50]

Hungary national team
Year Apps Goals
1945 2 3
1946 3 3
1947 5 5
1948 6 7
1949 8 11
1950 6 12
1951 3 4
1952 12 10
1953 7 6
1954 11 8
1955 12 10
1956 9 4
Total 85 84
Spain national team
Year Apps Goals
1961 1 0
1962 3 0
Total 4 0

International goals for Hungary[edit]


Scores and results list Hungary's goal tally first.
(* Non-FIFA match)

International appearances for Spain[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ before 1950 the club name was Kispesti A.C.
  2. ^ a b c d The Galloping Major. FIFA.com
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "FIFA President: FIFA to help the Galloping Major". FIFA. 12 October 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  6. ^ "Coronel Puskas, el zurdo de oro". AS (in Spanish). 17 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  7. ^ Mackay, Duncan (13 October 2005). "Lineker tees up another nice little earner". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2006-11-17. 
  8. ^ "Obituary:Ferenc Puskas". The Scotsman. 20 November 2003. 
  9. ^ "SOS Children mourns Ferenc Puskas". http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk. SOS Children's Villages. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2006.  External link in |work= (help)
  10. ^ a b c Bell, Jack (18 November 2006). "Ferenc Puskas, 79, International Soccer Star, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  11. ^ "Golden Players take centre stage". UEFA. 29 November 2003. 
  12. ^ "Isten futballistának teremtette". Nemzeti Sport (in Hungarian). 27 November 2006. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Soccer Great Puskas dead at 79". TSN. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  14. ^ "Puskás, Hungary's greatest". uefa.com. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  15. ^ Glanville, Brian (17 November 2006). "Obituary: Ferenc Puskas". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  16. ^ Külker Online - Hall of fame No.2: Puskás Ferenc
  17. ^ a b "Hall of Fame, Ferenc Puskas". IFHOF. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  18. ^ Corkhill, Barney (29 September 2008). "A Tribute To...Ferenc Puskas". Bleacher Report. USA. 
  19. ^ a b Hosking, Patrick; Wighton, David (17 November 2006). "Ferenc Puskas". The Times. London. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  20. ^ a b "Ferenc Puskás — Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  21. ^ a b c "Galloping Major gave us finest hour at Hampden". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  22. ^ The World Cup: The Complete History by Terry Crouch. 2006.
  23. ^ FIFA.com - Previous Tournaments
  24. ^ Previous Tournaments - FIFA.com
  25. ^ FIFA.com - Previous Tournaments
  26. ^ FIFA.com - Previous Tournaments
  27. ^ FIFA.com - Previous Tournaments
  28. ^ 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ - FIFA.com
  29. ^ FIFA.com - 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™
  30. ^ 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ - FIFA.com
  31. ^ 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ - FIFA.com
  32. ^ FIFA.com - 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™
  33. ^ Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe by Jonathan Wilson. 2006.
  34. ^ "Puskas, the Galloping Major". ESPNFC.com. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  35. ^ "Página web oficial de LaLiga - Liga de Fútbol Profesional". Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  36. ^ "Ferenc Puskas dies aged 79". The Guardian. London. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-27. 
  37. ^ Rich, Tim (19 May 2009). "The heavenly virtues: 10 kind footballers". The Guardian. London. 
  38. ^ 50 Years of the European Cup and Champions League by Keir Radnedge. 2005.
  39. ^ "Rep. of Ireland* v Hungary national team, 29 May 1993". Rep. of Ireland* v Hungary national team, 29 May 1993. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  40. ^ a b "Hungary legend Puskas dies at 79". BBC. 17 November 2006. 
  41. ^ "Puskas 'taken to intensive care'". BBC. 13 September 2006. 
  42. ^ "Ferenc Puskas". London: Telegraph.co.uk. 18 November 2003. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  43. ^ Jones, Grahame L. (18 November 2003). "Ferenc Puskas, 79; Hungarian was one of soccer's all-time greats". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-02. [dead link]
  44. ^ "European Footballer of the Year ("Ballon d'Or")". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2008. 
  45. ^ "Hungarian football players of the Year". Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "Puskas - Player Profile and Biography". Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  47. ^ "ERIC BATTY's WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 26 November 2015
  48. ^ "Legends". Golden Foot. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  49. ^ Ferenc Puskás at National-Football-Teams.com
  50. ^ a b c Ferenc Puskás - Goals in International Matches


  • (Autobiography) Ferenc Puskas: Captain of Hungary: Ferenc Puskas (1955). Reprinted in 2007 [3]
  • Behind the Curtain — Travels in Eastern European Football: Jonathan Wilson (2006) [4]
  • The World Cup — The Complete History: Terry Crouch (2002) [5]
  • 50 Years of the European Cup and Champions League: Keir Radnedge (2005) [6]
  • Obituary in The Guardian by Brian Glanville, 18 November 2006

External links[edit]