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Ferenc Puskas
Gender Male
Ethnic Hungarian
Job Hungarian Footballer
Desc A Real Madrid legend and the greatest Hungarian player of all time who was the leader of Gusztav Sebes’ irrepressible Magical Magyars who seemed unbeatable as they travelled to Berne to play West Germany in the ill-fated 1954 World Cup final on the back of an incredible 31-match unbeaten run, which included a 6-3 win over England at Wembley. Puskas was still one of the best forwards in the world in his late thirties. He won the Pichichi Trophy for top-scorer in Spain at the age of 37, and a year later scored 15 goals in 23 games as Real Madrid won another league title. At the age of 39, Puskas won the European Cup for a third time - scoring five goals over two games against Feyenoord along the way


Org Hungary National Team
Club as Player xxxx

2016 03 31 Retrieve

[The path was cleared for Puskas and his team-mates to dominate the domestic landscape after the army assumed control of their Kispest club in 1949 - while Hungary was under Soviet rule - and renamed it Honved] I have to say that I was never an ideologically committed person. I wasn’t all that interested in politics, inside the bubble of my football world, playing and training, and leading a happy family life

The development of the deep-lying centre-forward strategy - the 4-2-4 system with Hidegkuti in the central role - was our masterpiece. He was a great player and a wonderful reader of the game

[He was back in the line up for the final against the Germans and fired the Magic Magyars into a 1-0 lead but the Germans dug deep and won 3-2. Puskas had another goal controversially disallowed late on for offside] I couldn’t believe the offside decision nor could millions of others when they saw it. I could have murdered him, it was one of the very worst moments in my whole career and we were well and truly sick about it. The team didn’t deserve what happened in Hungary immediately afterwards. The place was like a funeral. Everybody was looking for someone to blame. In the streets people looked at me as if I had some kind of disease

[When the October Revolution kicked off in 1956, Honved were abroad for the European Cup playing a tie in Bilbao and deemed it unsafe to return until assurances could be made for the safety of the players and their families] I had no idea what was cooking in Hungary in 1956. This may sound incredible, but we footballers lived a charmed life; it was almost a life inside a bubble, protected from the ordinary world. Of course, normal people knew something was going to happen, but we weren’t ‘normal’

[Honved played the second leg in Brussels and many of the team opted against going home for fear of the uncertainty on the streets. Instead they decided to play lucrative friendly fixtures, including a tour to South America, which earned the players a ban from the Hungarian FA as well as Fifa] We said to Sebes that there was no point us going home to face shooting on the streets, and that we wanted to keep playing football. We knew that the league programme has been completely disrupted and wouldn’t start up before the spring

Various authorities were dispatched from Budapest to meet with us, and a ‘trial’ was held in Vienna; we were told we all had to come back to Hungary right away to face various ‘punishments’, the most severe being reserved for me as captain. I was then informed that I was to be banned from playing football for 18 months

[Puskas departed for Italy hoping to win a contract there but could not sign for Inter due to his ban. Manchester United, decimated by the 1958 Munich air disaster, made an attempt to sign Kocsics, Czibor and Puskas but the move was held up by red tape. Instead, with the help of Honved’s financial secretary Emil Osterreicher, a meeting was arranged with Real Madrid president Santiago Bernabeu. Puskas won a contract with the Chamartin team who were being built into the modern-day super club that they are today by the hand of their great president] So there I was in Madrid, the size of a large balloon, having a very weird conversation with Bernabeu. In the end, I threw up my arms and gestured, ‘Listen, this is all very well but have you looked at me? I’m at least 18 kilos overweight’. That’s not my problem, it’s yours.’ And that was that. I was a Real Madrid player, if a rather heavy one

[The coach Luis Carniglia dropped Puskas for the final against Reims but he soon established himself in the line up winning four Spanish top scorer awards, five league titles and the Intercontinental Cup] I was very proud to have played at the top to the ripe old age of 40, especially when I recalled that many had written me off a decade before

2018 06 17 Retrieve

[West Germany vs. Hungary, 1954 - Puskas gave them the lead and Zsoltan Czibor added a second, only for Germany to score two in the next 10 minutes to equalise. Thus it stayed until the 84th minute, when Helmut Rahn picked up a loose ball and fired into the net from the edge of the area. Puskas had an equaliser shortly afterwards disallowed] I couldn’t believe it. It was almost a minute afterwards when he raised his flag. I could have murdered him. To lose a World Cup on such a decision just isn’t right

2019 08 20 Retrieve

[Puskas died on November 17, 2006 of pneumonia and was buried under the dome of the St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest on December 9, 2006. Sepp Blatter said] It is important to preserve the memory of those footballing greats who have left their mark on our history. Puskas was not only a player with immense talent who won many honours, but also a remarkable man. FIFA is therefore delighted to pay tribute to him by dedicating this award to his memory