Ferenc Puskás was so legendary that the best goal of the year award was named after him by FIFA. Before Pele and Maradona, he was considered the greatest footballer. Let’s find out more about Ferenc Puskás biography.
Ferenc Puskás with the ball was a clue to know there's a goal on the way. He has scored as many as games he played. He was one of the Mighty Magyars who were one of the best football teams ever. In 2016, BBC Sport listed the Golden Team of Magyars as the best national team of all time. They dominated the world of football in the 50s. They used to trash the opponents with loads of goals and the left foot of Ferenc Puskás scored many of them.
He was a genius who didn't have a very athletic view, but on the field his magic would place him in the spotlight. The only thing that could have stopped him was the injury. Puskás played for only two clubs,Budapest Honvéd
. He was nominated for the Ballon d'Or in both clubs and scored as many goals as possible. He was the star and genius player who inspired the football world and his name will always be among the greatest players.
A mastermind of goal scoring and talent gifted striker is just who Puskás was. He and his fellow teammates under the manager, Gusztáv Sebes, made an epic story. Puskás won ten league titles in his homeland Hungary and later in Spain. He also won numerous individual awards as top scorer and best player.
"The man was a super talent; He was one of the greatest players of all time ..." Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano said about his teammate Ferenc Puskás. " He was a special player in his day without question." Sir Alex Ferguson, formerManchester United
The Hungarian legend has some records that even though a long time has passed, it is beyond the hands of great footballers. There are not many records that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have not reached. His scoring ratio is unbelievably more than one goal per match. Read on to find out more about Ferenc Puskás biography.
Full name: Ferenc Purczeld, Ferenc Puskás
Nicknames: “Kovács Miklós” [fictitious name]; “Ferenc Jr”, ; "Öcsi" [Buddy], "The Galopping Major"
Profession: Professional Football Player and Manager
Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight: 75 kg
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Playing Position: Forward
Jersey Number: 10
Professional Debut: the 1945-46 season
Date of birth: 1 April 1927 (1927-04-01)
Place of birth: Budapest, Hungary
Date of death: 17 November 2006 (aged 79)
Place of death: Budapest, Hungary
Wife: Erzsébet Hunyadvári (M. 1950-2006)
Father: Ferenc Puskás Sr.
Mother: Margit Bíró
Children: Anikó Puskás
The most well-known and popular Hungarian person was born on April 1, 1927, in the Zugló district of Budapest. The family moved from the city to Kispest (Little Pest). The new home had a special feature: it was located next to a local football pitch. The house had only a kitchen and a room and the window of the room opened right into the football pitch side. His family was named Purczeld at the time until his father, Ferenc sr. changed it to Puskás when little Ferenc was ten years old. Ferenc Puskás senior got a semi-professional footballer contract. Destiny was constantly leading the child to the football destination.
Ferenc Puskás childhood
home had another feature and that was the family next door. Bozsik family were their neighbors and their son, József became Ferenc friend and playmate. Ferenc senior played as a central defender for the Kispest A.C. and he was already a mentor for the local kids, including his son. After his retirement as a player, he became a coach for the Kispest team and this was about the time he changed the family name to Puskás.
Ferenc and his friend József Bozsik wanted to be on the team. József was slightly older than Ferenc and Ferenc was too young to be a team member legally. Ferenc senior used a pseudonym in order to bypass the minimum age. After a few years, the father was appointed as the main team manager in his early 40's. There was a World War going on and playing football was a huge relief for Ferenc.
Ferenc Puskás made his professional debut in 1943 for the Kispest AC while he was sixteen years old and his father was the team's manager. The debut match was in the Hungarian national football league’s top tier. After the World War ending, the communist government overtook the Kispest team and renamed it to Honvéd. Honvéd means the Homeland Defense, because it was the Hungarian Army club at the time.
Honvéd started to recruit the players who were conscripted into the army. Ferenc Puskás and József Bozsik were already in the team when the new footballers came along. Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor were among the newcomers. Kocsis was also a very talented striker who came from Ferencváros with Czibor. Kocsis was a prolific goal scorer just like Puskás.
There was also a goalkeeper named Gyula Grosics. Gusztáv Sebes was the national team manager and in the first call up after the world war, he mentioned Ferenc Puskás in the squad list. Gusztáv Sebes used Honvéd facilities as the training for national. Many national team players were in Honvéd. Puskás played in 350 Hungarian league matches and scored 358 goals for Honvéd and they won five league titles.
Ferenc Puskás’ nationality
was Hungary. Gusztáv Sebes was a pioneer coach and formed a very strong offensive team of Hungarian talented players. He has a brand new formation of 2–3–3–2, which was very flexible so that they would quickly switch from defensive to offensive and vice versa. Sebes had a very effective fitness regime that helped the players to be in their best form. This team had an enormous effect on football, followed by upcoming pioneer managers. This dream team of Hungary was the basis of the later Dutch team that introduced Total Football to the world.
Puskás and Kocsis carried the scoring duty absolutely amazing. Between 1950 and 1956, the team played 50 matches, which resulted in 42 victories, 7 draws, and only one defeat. The one defeat was named the Miracle of Bern, because nobody believed that would happen. By FIFA statistics and many professional opinions, they were arguably the best national team of all time. By Puskás and Kocsis scoring and very strong teamwork, they used to trash the opponents with humiliating results.
1952 Summer Olympics alarmed the world about the Golden Team of Hungary, for whoever was not still known about their power. They won the three matches of the knockout phase with 16 goals and then winning the final with two goals from Puskás and Czibor granted the Golden medal for them. In 1953, they won the Central European Championship with a 3–0 victory against Italy in Roma, where Puskás scored two of the goals.
In one of the most memorable football matches, they facedEngland
. It is called the Match of the Century. Before this match was held in Wembley Stadium in London, the English side were beaten on home soil only once, in 1949 against theRepublic of Ireland
. The match started with a goal for Hungary in the very first minute. England scored an equalizer in the 13th minute of the game, but before the 30th minute, Hungary scored three more goals, two of them by Puskás. The final score was 6–3; Hungary launched 35 shots on target to England's five and their final goal, a Hidegkuti volley, followed a ten-pass sequence.
Sir Bobby Robson said of the game: "We saw a style of play, a system of play that we had never seen before. None of these players meant anything to us. We didn't know about Puskás. All these fantastic players were men from Mars, as far as we were concerned. That one game alone changed our thinking. We thought we would demolish this team-England at Wembley, we are the masters, they are the pupils. It was absolutely the other way."
The English side obviously were angry and the next year they went to Budapest for vengeance. The first goal from England scored in the 68th minute of the game, but the Mighty Magyars have scored seven goals already. Puskás opened the opponent's goal in the 17th and 71st minutes. This was three weeks before the 1954 World Cup. The World Cup had a group stage of four.
In Group 2, Hungary played two games againstSouth Korea
. They trashed South Korea with nine goals. The next game was against West Germany, which resulted in a 8–3 victory for Hungary. In the knockout phase, they defeated the Brazilians with four goals, but Puskás had a hairline fracture because of a tackle in the previous game, and didn’t return until the final.
After a win againstUruguay
, they again played with West Germany in the final. Puskás scored after six minutes despite his injury and two minutes later Czibor scored. However, before the first half ended, West Germans scored two goals. In the second half, Puskás scored another goal, but it was ruled offside, and Hungary finished as runner-up.
In 1956, Budapest Honvéd entered the European Cup and played againstAthletic Bilbao
. However, before the home leg game, the Hungarian revolution broke out in Budapest. The players decided not to go back and played the home game in Brussels, Belgium. Honvéd were eliminated at last despite Puskás goal.
They organized a fundraising tour of Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Brazil despite opposition from FIFA and the Hungarian football authorities. After coming back to Europe, some players returned to Hungary, but others, including Czibor, Kocsis, and Puskás, found new clubs in Western Europe. Puskás didn’t return to Hungary until 1981.
wanted to sign Puskás, but he received a two-year ban from UEFA because of not returning to Hungary. He went to Austria and Italy. After the ban was lifted, he was willing to find a club that signed him but they wouldn’t because of his age and weight.
He joined Real Madrid at the age of 31. During his first La Liga season, he scored four hat-tricks. Puskás managed to score two hat-tricks against FCBarcelona
in 1963, one at the Bernabéu and one at the Camp Nou. In eight seasons, he played in 180 games, scoring 156 goals. He won the Pichichi trophy four times and helped Real to win five consecutive La Liga titles.
In the European cup, he played 39 games and scored 35 for Real. Real Madrid won three European Cups during this period. In 1962, he took Spain nationality and played in four games for Spain. They would call him the Canoncito Pum (the booming cannon).
Puskás managed teams in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia after retirement. In most of the 15 clubs he managed, he didn’t stay long, but from 1970 to 74 he guidedPanathinaikos
of Greece to the European cup final. It was the only time in history that a Greek club could reach the finals. They beatEverton
andRed Star Belgrade
to reach the finals. In the end, they played againstAjax
, which Johan Cruyff was the manager. They lost and finished as runner-up, but Puskás made a record for himself during those four seasons.
Puskás returned to Hungary for the first time in 1981 and in 1990 and made Budapest his home again. In 1993, he accepted the management of the Hungarian national football team for four games, including a 4–2 friendly victory against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin, where Hungary came from two goals down to eventually beat their opponents.
In this part of Ferenc Puskás bio, we’ll discuss his career statistics as a player at both club and international levels.
In Kispest AC, Puskás began his carrier as a Junior under his father’s management at the age of 12. He made his first senior appearance in 1943. Until 1949, which was the year that the team was taken by the Hungarian Ministry of defense and changed its name to Budapest Honvéd, he played 173 games and scored 188 goals in theNemzeti Bajnokság I
league in eight seasons. In the army club until 1956, he played in 177 Hungarian league games and scored 170 times.
Puskás joined Real Madrid in 1958 when he was 31. During eight seasons with Real, Puskás played 180 La Liga games and scored 156 goals. He scored 20 or more goals in each of his first six seasons in the Spanish league, and won the Pichichi trophy four times: in 1960, 1961, 1963, and 1964, scoring 25, 28, 26, and 21 goals, respectively. Also, in the Copa del Generalisimo, he played 41 games and scored 49 times. In 41 European cup games, he scored 37 goals, which led Real Madrid to win in three seasons. In total at the club level, he appeared in 629 games, scoring 625 goals which actually is a record.
For the most part of his national career, Puskás played for the Hungarian national team from 1945 to 1956. With Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis, József Bozsik, and Nándor Hidegkuti, they formed a golden team that remained unbeaten for 32 consecutive games. In total, he played 85 games and scored 84 times, leading him to win lots of awards. In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Hungary played againstItalia
, and Yugoslavia and in all of them, Puskás played for 90 minutes and scored 4 times.
Also, in the 1954 world cup in Switzerland, he played in three games and managed to score four goals for Hungary. In 1962, Puskás took Spanish nationality, and joined Spain for four games, but didn’t score any.
Erzsébet became Ferenc Puskás’s wife in 1950. They were club colleagues at Kispesti AC, Erzsébet being a handball player at the time. In 1952, their daughter Anikó was born, who was passed away in 2011 in Valencia, Spain.
In 1956, Erzsébet and her daughter escaped communist Hungary into Austria, and traveled to Italy to be reunited with Ferenc, who was on a tour as the captain of Budapest Honvéd football club. he and his wife lived together for 56 years until 2006, until
Ferenc Puskás life story
ended. In 2000, Puskás was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and in 2006 he died at the age of 79. He was buried under the dome of the St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest. Erzsébet Puskás passed away in 2015 at the age of 83.
Nemzeti Bajnokság I, or NBI, is the top level of the Hungarian football league system and it’s been ranked currently as 29th in Europe by UEFA. Puskás had won the NBI title in five seasons from 1949 to 1955 with the Budapest Honvéd club. Puskás won the Golden Boot of the world award in 1948. In 1950, Puskás won the Hungarian Football Federation player of the year award. He was Hungarian top scorer in the 1947–48, 1949–50, 1950 and 1953 seasons.
Puskás played for the Hungarian team from 1945 to 1956. The Balkan Cup was an international association football competition by countries from the Balkans region. In 1947 Hungary won the Balkan Cup. They won the Summer Olympics in 1952. In 1953, Hungary was the Central European Champion and Puskás won the top scorer award. In 1954, they finished as runner up in the FIFA World Cup, but Puskás won the Golden ball award, and was in the All Star team of the competition.
In his years in Real Madrid, his performance was top notch, although he wasn’t that young anymore. He won five consecutive La Liga titles, the 1960 International cup and the 1961 Copa del Generalisimo, which now is known by the name of Copa del Ray. Also, Real won the European cup three times with Puskás in 1958–59, 1959–60 and 1965–66 seasons and he was again the top scorer of the competition in the 1959–60 and the 1963–64 seasons. In 1960, Puskás got the Ballon d’Or silver award.
The Pichichi trophy is the award for the top goal scorer in La Liga. From 1959 to 1963, Puskás won the Pichichi trophy every season, except the 1961–62. For four consecutive years, he was one of the world soccer world XI from 1960 to 1963.
As a member of the FIFA 100, Puskás was titled as the European player of the 20th century by L’Equipe, Hungarian player of the 20th century and football’s top scorer of the 20th century by IFFHS. Also, in the list of top 10 world’s best players of the 20th century, Puskás was ranked 6, and in the list of top 10 Europe’s best players of the 20th century, he was ranked 4 by IFFHS. As a legend, he won the Golden Foot award in 2006, the year he passed away.
As a manager of the Panathinaikos, he guided them to the final of the European cup but they finished as runner up losing to Ajax in 1970. It was the first time that a Greek club would reach a European final until this day. They also managed to win two super league Greece in 1969–70 and 1971–72 seasons.
For the 1985–86 season, he was the manager ofSol de America
and they got the Paraguayan Primera Division title. He also was the manager ofSouth Melbourne Hellas
back from 1989 until 1992. They managed to win the NSL (National League Soccer) title in 1990 and the NSL cup in 1989–90.