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FIFA World Cup

Opinion:Just How Good Ferenc Puskas Actually Was

Most of the Madrid fans have already heard of Ferenc Puskás, but the more you read about him the more it amazes you. Here's a detailed look at his illustrious career, truly an all time great.

𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫 𝐈𝐧 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐫𝐲 :Puskas was born to a German family in Budapest on 1 April 1927. He began his youth career as a junior with Kispest Ac, where his father was a Coach.

Puskas took the youth ranks by storm as at the age of 16 he had already made his first senior appearance.Puskas scored 50 goals in the league in 1947/48 as he won the European Golden Boot that season.

He finished as the top goalscorer at 4 different occasions during his time at Kispest Ac which was by then named as Budapest Honvéd as Hungarian Army had taken control of the club.

All the players were given military ranks, Puskás became a Major, which led to his nickname "The Galloping Major".

Puskas was the Captain of the great Hungarian national side of 1950's which didn't lost a match for 4 years, from 1950 to 1954, including a 6-3 and 7-1 routing of England.

Unfortunately for Puskas, the one match they were finally defeated in, was the World Cup final against West Germany, in which Puskas played with a knee injury and scored a goal to give Hungary 1-0 lead.

West Germany made a comeback from 2-0 down to 3-2, in the final minutes of the game Puskas put the ball into the net once again, only to be controversially ruled offside.

After the World Cup under the Captaincy of Puskas, Hungary went on an 18 games undefeated run until the Hungarian revolution erupted in 1956.

Most of the team members including Puskas refused to go back to Hungary. They summoned their families from Hungary, and preferred to stay abroad.

Puskas received a 2 year ban from UEFA for refusing to return to Budapest, and at the age of 29 his Hungarian career ended with a whopping 84 goals in 85 games for the national team while 358 goals in 350 games for his club Budapest Honvéd.

𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐫 :After his ban, Puskas tried to find a club in Italy, but no one was willing to sign a 31 year old and several kilos overweight player who hadn't played for 2 years, as his career seemed all but finished.

But in the summer of 1958 Santiago Bernabéu signed him for Real Madrid to utter surprise of everyone including the Coach Luis Carniglia.

Puskás arrived in Madrid in June 1958, aged 31 and 18 kilos overweight. Luis Carniglia saw him and told Santiago Bernabéu 'He's a lost cause, I'm not picking him'.

Bernabéu replied "Your job is to get him fit, make him lose weight and don't mention the subject to me again, we want him".

So our big belly, little cannon spent 3 months training with plastic layers wrapped around his body. He never really was the most fittest kind of player, but he eventually lost enough weight to get into the squad.

On 21 September 1958, Puskás scored a hattrick in his 2nd game for Real Madrid, still slightly overweight but again he wasn't the most dynamic type of a player, all he needed was the ball at his feet and the net in front of him, his left-foot would do the rest.

He scored 4 hattricks in his first season, and scored the only goal in the European Cup Semifinal reply against Atletico to put Real Madrid in the final of the European Cup 1959.

He missed the final due to injury but Real Madrid won the competition once again after defeating Reims by 2-0.

In the next season Puskás once again scored 3 times against Fc Barcelona in the European Cup Semifinal as Real Madrid qualified for their 5th consecutive final.

On 18 May 1960, Puskas scored 4 goals in the European Cup final against Frankfurt in front of a 130,000 crowd at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Which still remains a record as he's the only player to do so in the European Cup history.

Puskás's record in the European Cup finals is literally out of this world, as he has 7 goals to his name in the 2 finals that he played.

Puskas won 4 Pichichi trophies from 1960-1965 helping Real Madrid to 5 Spanish league titles in a row.

In the 1962/63 season he scored hattricks against Fc Barcelona at both Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabéu, still the only player to do so.

Not to mention he was doing all this well past his prime, he was 37 years old in 1964 when he was the top goalscorer in Spanish league.

At the age of 38, Puskas helped a young Real Madrid qualify for the European Cup final once again in 1966, Puskas didn’t start in the final but he was still impressive throughout the campaign despite of his age.

As Real Madrid conquered Europe once again after 6 years of wait. Puskas opted to retire at the age of 39.

Puskas scored over 200 goals with Real Madrid and is still among Top 5 goalscorers in club's history with a goal/game ratio of 0.87, which is only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Puskas achieved all this while he was past his prime, and had he joined Real Madrid at 24 or 25, you can imagine what his numbers would've been like. But aren't stories more interesting than raw numbers anyway?

Puskas finally returned to Hungary in 1981 to a hero's welcome, as his nation finally learned about his achievements abroad. Hungary's national stadium was named Ferenc Puskás Stadium in 2001.

Fifa created the Puskas award in 2009 in the honor of Ferenc Puskás!

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