* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (goals)
Nándor Hidegkuti (3 March 1922 – 14 February 2002) was a Hungarian football player and manager. He played as a forward or attacking midfielder and spent the majority of his playing career at MTK Hungária FC. During the 1950s he was also a key member of the Hungarian National Team team known as the Golden Team. Other members of the team included Ferenc Puskás, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and József Bozsik. In 1953, playing as a deep lying centre-forward, he scored a hat-trick for Hungary when they beat England6-3 at Wembley Stadium. Playing from deep, Hidegkuti was able to distribute the ball to the other attackers and cause considerable confusion to defenses. This was an innovation at the time and revolutionised the way the game was played.
Hidegkuti began playing for MTK in 1947. In 1949 when Hungary became a communist state, MTK were taken over by the secret police, the ÁVH and subsequently the club changed their name several times. Initially they became Textiles SE, then Bástya SE, then Vörös Lobogó SE and then finally back to MTK. Despite this turmoil, the 1950s proved a successful era for club and it was while at MTK that Hidegkuti, together with Péter Palotás and coach Márton Bukovi, pioneered the deep lying centre-forward position. With a team that also included Mihály Lantos and József Zakariás, MTK and Hidegkuti won three Hungarian League titles, a Hungarian Cup and a Mitropa Cup. In 1955, as Vörös Lobogó SE, they also played in the first ever European Cup. Hidegkuti scored twice as they beat RSC Anderlecht 10-4 on aggregate in the first round. After retiring as a player, Hidegkuti also had two spells as a coach at MTK.
Between 1945 and 1958 Hidegkuti earned 69 appearances and scored 39 goals for Hungary. He scored twice on his debut on 30 September 1945 in a 7-2 win against Romania. Two years later, on 17 August 1947, he made his second international appearance and scored a hat-trick against Bulgaria. On 18 November 1951 he scored another hat trick against Finland. He became a central player in the Golden Team of the early and mid-1950s; during this time, Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis and Hidegkuti provided the Hungarians a total of 198 goals.
Hidegkuti was used by the Golden Team as a deep lying centre-forward. In the 1950s, the majority of international sides still used the WM formation, where the defending centre half would traditionally mark the opposition's centre forward - usually whoever was wearing the number 9 shirt. When a defending centre half attempted to mark Hidegkuti, they were drawn out of position, allowing the rest of the Hungarian team to exploit the space. At the time this was a revolutionary tactic, requiring the player in the deep lying centre-forward position to have excellent ball control, distribution skills and positional awareness.
Former England and Leeds United manager, Don Revie paid tribute to the influence of Hidegkuti in his autobiography: "In the summer of 1954 England and Scotland were knocked out of the World Cup series in Switzerland. That competition was won by Germany, but dominated by Hungary, who played with a deep-lying centre forward, Nandor Hidegkuti. Alongside him; Sandor Koscis and Ferenc Puskas, two of the greatest inside-forwards in the world. But whatever people claim of Koscis and Puskas, it was the man Hidegkuti who tore the England defence to shreds at Wembley in November 1953. It was Hidegkuti, again playing his hide-and-seek centre-forward game, who shattered England in the return match in Budapest in May 1954, when we were thrashed 7-1."