In memory of ( according to my dad) the greatest footballer ever- and thats good enough for me :

From Sporting Life:


Hungarian football legend Ferenc Puskas was the greatest player never to win a World Cup.
Puskas, who died on Friday morning in a Budapest hospital following a long illness at the age of 79, was the captain of the Magical Magyars, the famous Hungarian national side of the 1950s.

Puskas style and flair revolutionised the beautiful game during the post-war era. He was the inspiration behind Hungary’s sensational 6-3 victory over England in 1953, scoring two goals from inside-left as the Magyars became the first foreign side to win at Wembley. As Hungary emerged as the pre-eminent post-war team, their movement, energy and improvisation on the pitch a world away from the sluggish, formulaic and rigid style of the traditional powerhouses of the game, so, too, did Puskas emerge as the pre-eminent footballer of his time.

Nicknamed the Galloping Major – a moniker from his days with army-owned side Honved – Puskas was a prolific goalscorer throughout his career, his powerful left foot bringing him an extraordinary tally of 83 goals in 84 international appearances for Hungary. He was also the inspiration behind Hungary’s record 32-game unbeaten run during the early part of the 1950s which, agonisingly, was destined to come to an end on the biggest stage in world football.

The 1954 World Cup so nearly brought Puskas his greatest footballing achievement, as the Magical Magyars swept all before them on an imperious march to the final against West Germany. But just as the Dutch Total Football revolutionaries of the 1970s would fail to convert their superiority into victory when it mattered most, so Hungary, hindered by an unfit Puskas in the latter stages of the game, crumbled to defeat against their unfancied opponents.

But while international honours might have eluded Puskas, domestic honours came thick and fast, including five domestic league titles in his homeland. He was top scorer in the Hungarian League with Honved on four occasions, and in 1948 was the leading scorer across all the European leagues.

During the failed Hungarian uprising of 1956, Puskas was in Spain with Honved for a European Cup game. Fearful of Soviet reprisals, he went into self-imposed exile and eventually joined Real Madrid, where he formed an explosive partnership with the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano. He and Di Stefano were the original Galacticos before the expression was coined. While in Madrid, Puskas collected a further five league titles and finished as the league’s top scorer four times in five years. He also scored seven goals in two European Cup final appearances, including four in Real’s famous 7-3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in 1960. In total, Puskas scored 512 goals in 528 matches for Real, while in 1962 he became a Spanish citizen, playing for them in the World Cup finals in Chile later that same year.

After retirement he became a coach for a raft of clubs both in Europe and further afield, and in 1971 led Panathinaikos to the European Cup final. But it was as a player that Puskas’ reputation was forged, and from there that a legend ultimately emerged.

Later in life, Puskas was frequently honoured for his achievements in ushering in footballs modern era. In 1999, he was voted the 20th centurys sixth best player by the International Federation for Football History and Statistics, while in 2001 the Nepstadion in Budapest – his home town, where he was born in 1927 – was renamed the Stadion Puskas Ferenc in his honour. He was also declared the best Hungarian player of the past 50 years by the Hungarian Football Federation in the UEFA Jubilee Awards in November 2003.

Puskas, who was admitted to intensive care in a Budapest hospital in September 2006 due to complications arising from an Alzheimer’s-like disease, leaves a wife Erzsebet.