Ferenc Puskás

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Ferenc Puskás
Ferenc Puskás (cropped).jpg
Puskás as Panathinaikos manager in 1971
Personal information
Birth name Ferenc Purczeld[1]
Date of birth (1927-04-02)2 April 1927
Place of birth Budapest, Kingdom of 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, attacking midfielder
Youth career
1940–1943 Kispest Honvéd
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1943–1956 Budapest Honvéd[i] 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
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ferenc Puskás (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈfɛrɛnt͡s ˈpuʃkaːʃ], UK: /ˌfɛrɛnts ˈpʊʃkəʃ, ˈpʊʃkæʃ/ FERR-ents PUUSH-kəsh, PUUSH-kash;[2][3][4] born Ferenc Purczeld;[1] 2 April 1927 – 17 November 2006) was a Hungarian football player and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and the sport's first international superstar.[5] A forward, he scored 162 goals in 123 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), ten national championships (five Hungarian and five Spanish Primera División) and eight top individual scoring honors. In 1995, he was recognized as the greatest top division scorer of the 20th century by the IFFHS.[6][7][8] With 806 goals in 793 official games scored during his career, he is the fourth top goalscorer of all time.[9]

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.[10] In 1998, he became one of the first ever FIFA/SOS Charity ambassadors.[11] In 2002, the Népstadion in Budapest was renamed the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in his honor.[12] 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.[13] 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]

Puskás and Ger Lagendijk, manager and player of the Vancouver Royals, February 1968

Ferenc Purczeld was born on 1 April 1927[14] 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,[12] where his father, who had previously played for the club, was a coach. He had grandchildren, who were the children of his brothers son[clarification needed]; the two sons of his brother are Zoltán and István, Zoltán with 3 children; Ilonka, Camila and Andrés, and István with two.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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 won the 1948-53 Central European International Cup. Hungary won the championship after finishing top of the table with 11 points. Puskás finished the tournament as top scorer with ten goals and scored twice as Hungary claimed the trophy with a 3–0 win over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in 1953.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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] Ending the Golden years with a silver medal at the 1955-60 Central European International Cup, making it a grand total of two gold/titles and two silver for the Mighty Magyars.

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.[25]

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 [26]
2 1st R 21 July 1952  Italy 90 min. 3–0 (2–0) 0 Pallokenttä, Helsinki [27]
3 QF 24 July 1952  Turkey 90 min 7–1 (2–0) 2 4–0
6–1
54'
72'
Urheilukeskus, Kotka [28]
4 SF 28 July 1952  Sweden 90 min 6–0 (3–0) 1 1–0 1' Helsinki Olympic Stadium [29]
5 Final 2 August 1952  Yugoslavia 90 min 2–0 (0–0) 1 1–0 70' Helsinki Olympic Stadium [30]

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
9–0
12'
89'
Hardturm Stadium, Zürich [31]
2 Group 2 20 June 1954  West Germany 90 min 8–3 (3–1) 1 2–0 17' St. Jakob Stadium, Basel [32]
QF 27 June 1954  Brazil Did not play 4–2 (2–1) 0 Wankdorf Stadium, Bern [33]
SF 30 June 1954  Uruguay Did not play 4–2 (a.e.t.)
(2–2, 1–0)
0 Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Lausanne [34]
3 Final 4 July 1954  West Germany 90 min 2–3 (2–2) 1 1–0 6' Wankdorf Stadium, Bern [35]

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.[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[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.[36] Puskás did not return to Hungary until 1981.[37]

Spanish career[edit]

In Spain he is known also under the nickname of Pancho.

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

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[38]) 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.[citation needed]

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.[39] 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.[citation needed]

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[12] 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.[citation needed]

Spanish national appearances[edit]

In 1962, Puskás took Spanish nationality,[40] and subsequently played four times for Spain. Three of these games were at the 1962 World Cup. In Spain he was known as Cañoncito Pum (the booming cannon).[37]

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.[41]

Managerial 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 semis. In the final Panathinaikos lost 2–0 to Johan Cruyff's Ajax.[42] 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. While managing the Australian club, one of his players was future Australia and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, who has spoken of the influence Puskas' all out attacking approach had on his coaching style. [43]

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.[citation needed]

Puskás returned to Hungary for the first time in 1981 and in 1990, he made Budapest his home again.[37] In 1993, he took charge of the Hungary national 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.[44]

Style of play[edit]

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.[45] He was admitted to a Budapest hospital in September 2006[46] and died on 17 November 2006[45] of pneumonia. He was 79 years old and was survived by his wife of 57 years, Erzsébet,[47] and their daughter, Anikó.[48] 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.[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]

Film[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[54]
Club Season League National Cup Continental[a] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Budapesti Honvéd SE[b] 1943–44 Nemzeti Bajnokság I 18 7 - - - - 18 7
1944–45 2 1 - - - - 2 1
1944 11 6 - - - - 11 6
1945 20 10 - - - - 20 10
1945–46 34 36 - - - - 34 36
1946–47 29 32 - - - - 29 32
1947–48 31 50 - - - - 31 50
1948–49 28 46 - - - - 28 46
1949–50 30 31 - - - - 30 31
1950 15 25 - - - - 15 25
1951 21 21 2 4 - - 23 25
1952 26 22 - - - - 26 22
1953 26 27 3 12 - - 29 39
1954 20 21 - - - - 20 21
1955 26 18 6 4 4 4 36 25
1956 13 5 - - 2 1 15 6
Total 350 358 11 20 6 5 367 383
Real Madrid 1958–59 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 4 2 41 44
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
Total 180 156 41 49 41 37 262 242
Total 530 514 52 69 47 42 629 625
  1. ^ Appearances in Mitropa Cup and European Cup
  2. ^ Before 1950 the club name was Kispesti A.C.

International[edit]

Appearances and goals by national team and year[55][56][57]
National team Year Apps Goals
Hungary 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 1961 1 0
1962 3 0
Total 4 0

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Budapest Honvéd

Real Madrid

Hungary

Individual

Manager[edit]

Panathinaikos

Sol de América

South Melbourne Hellas

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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

References[edit]

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  32. ^ FIFA.com – 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ Archived 22 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ – FIFA.com Archived 17 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ 1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™ – FIFA.com Archived 27 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
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  • (Autobiography) Ferenc Puskas: Captain of Hungary: Ferenc Puskas (1955). Reprinted in 2007 [1]
  • Behind the Curtain — Travels in Eastern European Football: Jonathan Wilson (2006) [2]
  • The World Cup — The Complete History: Terry Crouch (2002) [3]
  • 50 Years of the European Cup and Champions League: Keir Radnedge (2005) [4]
  • Obituary in The Guardian by Brian Glanville, 18 November 2006

External links[edit]