Ferenc Puskas Biography

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Name Ferenc Puskas (Inside Left Forward)
Born On 1st April, 1927
Played For Clubs: Budapest Honved, Real Madrid
Team Hungary, Spain
World Cup Played Played 1954 World Cup


What made the 1954 World Football Cup unique were two exceptional facts; one it was the highest scoring tournament in history and second was the presence of talented players like Ferenc Puskas of Hungary. One of the top strikers the 20th century has seen, Ferenc Puskas is renowned as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. This is due to his astonishing record of scoring 84 goals in 85 international matches for the country and 514 goals in Hungarian and Spanish leagues.


Born as Ferenc Purczeld in the Hungarian capital Budapest on 1st April 1927, Puskas was brought up in a nearby village, Kispest. His father named Ferenc Sr. was of German ethnicity and was also a footballer and manager by profession. From the very beginning, Ferenc Puskas was trained at Kispest AC (now Budapest Honved FC) as a junior player where his father was a coach.

Initially, he used a pseudonym Miklos Kovacs to avoid the minimum age rules before officially beginning his rendezvous with football at the age of 12. He debuted as a senior player for Kispest in November 1943 where he got the nickname “Ocsi” (Buddy). Later on Kispet village was overtaken by the Defence Ministry of Hungary to form the Hungarian Army team and was rechristened as Budapest Honved. Looking at his passion for soccer, Ferenc Puskas was promoted to the rank of Major which eventually led to the nickname “The Galloping Major”. His football philosophy is reflected in his quote “the ball should be moved early, preferably on first contact. To run with it is often only to waste valuable attacking time”.

He made several unsuccessful attempts to join an Italian team but was finally signed to play for Real Madrid in 1958 alongside Argentinian star striker Alfredo Di Stefano. The combination of both of these players showed aggression towards opponents, glimpses of which can be seen in their scoring seven combined goals in the UEFA European Cup final in 1960. During his tenure in Spain, Ferenc Puskas led his team Real Madrid to win five league titles in a row. Before he hung up his boots in the year 1966, he had scored an average of one goal per game in his spells with the Hungarian national team Honved and Real Madrid. After retiring from football, he started managing teams in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Later in the year 2000, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In September 2006, he was admitted to a hospital after suffering from pneumonia and died on 17th November, 2006.


Ferenc Puskas commenced his football journey for the Hungary team, most popularly known as the “Golden Team” or “Mighty Magyars” on 20th August 1945 scoring a 5-2 win over Austria. The Hungarian “Golden team” is known for several notable matches and one of them was “Match of the Century”. The match was played against England, who were the originators of the game and the Hungary national team defeated the English with a 6-3 score on their soil. Puskas, at that time, was both a prominent member as well as the captain of the team.

The short and sturdy Ferenc Puskas was renowned for his deadly left foot and unmatched field vision. He soon went on to play 85 matches and recorded 84 goals for the Hungary national team. He has several international goal records which includes two hat-tricks against Austria, four goals against Albania in a 12-0 win and one hat-trick against Luxembourg. He was part of the Olympic team of 1952 which grabbed the Gold medal beating Yugoslavia with 2-0. Overall in Olympics, Puskas scored four times in the entire tournament which also includes the opening goal in the final match against Yugoslavia. He was also the top scorer in the Central European International Cup in 1953. Despite a hairline fracture, Puskas played and scored a goal in 1954 World Cup final against West Germany. After returning to Europe, Puskas was banned by UEFA and after struggling in Europe he finally joined Real Madrid to begin the second phase of his career. Overall the robust left footer won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966) for his team and won four Pichichi Trophies which is given to the top goal scorer for each league season. His records also include seven goals in two European Champions Cup finals. In 1995, he was bestowed with the honor of the top scorer of the 20th century by International Federation of Football History & Statistics.


Ferenc Puskas is survived by wife Erzsebet and daughter Aniko. He was considered by millions as one of the most famous Hungarians and a street near Stadium Bozsik in Budapest is named after him. As he was very popular and a most powerful and prolific forward player in Europe, an award with the name of FIFA Puskas Award is given to “the most beautiful goal” of the year. He once participated and scored all three goals for his team in a Merseyside charity match organised by Bankfield House in 1967.


As a sportsperson and a great human being, Ferenc Puskas left an indelible mark in history. He would be remembered by millions of his fans worldwide.

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