Numbers in brackets are games/goals
||2 Apr 1927
1962 (for Spain)
One of the finest ever players in the
game, Ferenc Puskas never was able to fulfil his true potential in a World
Cup, despite being silvermedalist in 1954. He began his career in 1943
in Kispest a suburb of Budapest, and at the age of 18 in 1945 he made his
debut for Hungary against Austria in his country's first post-war international
match. Puskas played in the fabulous Hungary side that trashed England
6-3 at Wembley in 1953, the first team outside Britain to beat England
Born in 1927, Puskas was an odd looking footballer. He was short, stocky,
barrel-chested, overweight, couldn't head and only used one foot. Known
as "The Galloping Major", a reference to the fact that he was an army officer
playing for an army team, he had huge success in Hungarian football with
Kispest Honved. He won four league championships with them before moving
to Real Madrid. He would enjoy even more success in the Spanish capital.
Partnering the great Alfredo di Stefano up front, they formed the most
feared duo in international football. Puskas was topscorer four times in
the Spanish league, helping his team to win six domestic trophies and three
European Cups. In the 1960 European Cup final he hammered home four goals
in Madrid's 7-3 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Puskas and Hungary were unbeaten in four years of international football
when they arrived in Switzerland to play in the World Cup in 1954. It looked
like their record would remain after beating South Korea 9-0 and the strong
Germans 8-3! Puskas missed the quarter- and semifinal through injury, but
his teammates took care of the business beating Brazil 4-2 in the "Battle
of Berne" where fighting seemed more interesting than football for the
players. Defending champions Uruguay were beaten after extra-time and the
stage was set for a final against West Germany. Puskas insisted on playing
in the final despite not being fully fit. The Galloping Major took over
the captaincy and after only eight minutes Hungary were two goals up, with
Puskas getting one of the goals. However, The Germans characteristically
came back and won 3-2. It was a shock result and Hungary's four year unbeaten
record came to an end. The team broke up a couple of years later during
the revolution in Hungary. Puskas later played four times for Spain in
his time in Real Madrid but failed to score. For Hungary he played 84 times
and scored a world record 83 goals! No player, not even Pelé, has
scored that many goals for a national team.
| 1954 | 1962
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