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Goals in Kispest, Wembley Stadium, the World Championship, the European Cup

 

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Friday, 17 November 2006, 13:36

One of the best footballers of the past century, Ferenc Puskás, with his left foot and his goals, made himself immortal.

Ferenc Puskás made his first appearance on 5 December 1943, in the Kispest colours. Although Nagyvárad beat the players from the capital (3-0), he proved his talent by scoring a goal in his second match, when his team lost to Diósgyőr at home (3-2). In March of the following year, against Ferencváros, he scored his first double. By 20 August, the seventeen-year-old left-footer had already made his debut as an adult on the nation's Eleven Best.

He Quickly Became Leader

In the match against Austria, he played his part in the 5-2 victory by scoring a goal. A little more than one month later, against Romania, he scored two goals out of the seven.

In 1946, against Törekvés, he scored all five of the goals for Kispest. He soon became leader in the nation's Eleven Best as well. In 1952, as captain of the Olympic Championship Team, he scored important goals in the quarter-final against Turkey, in the semi-final where they faced the Swedish, and in the final against Yugoslavia.

In the Match of the Century, One of the Century's Best Goals

In 1953, during the match of the century, the 6-3 defeat of the British in London, he scored two goals. In Wembley Stadium, 105,000 spectators watched when, at the five-metre mark, he pulled the back, faking out the rear-guard Wright and sending him sprawling, before blasting the ball with his left foot into the nearest corner of the net. It was one of the most memorable goals of his career and in football history.

Before the world championship in 1954, the Hungarian team played a final friendly match against the English, beating the Brits 7-1 in People's Stadium. Puskás scored two goals on that occasion, too, as well as another two against South Korea in the first world championship match.

Honvéd Could Have Won the European Cup

After his goal in the group match against Germany, he received a nasty kick from Liebrich, after which he could not even take the field against Brazil or Uruguay. Before the final, he was thoroughly examined. His foot had healed. He soon proved this, in the ninetieth minute, by scoring the second goal for Hungary. The third goal sailed into the net just a little before the end of legal playing time, but the referee mistakenly disqualified it. This was almost certainly the most painful defeat in his life.

(See Puskás...from 3:14)

If the European Championship Cup had existed earlier, Honvéd (which was the backbone of the National Team) would have been a serious contender, but the series only kicked off in 1956. By that time, Best Eleven players Puskás, Czibor, and Kocsis had all emigrated following the revolution.

Amazing, Even With a Pot-belly

For their actions, all of the dissidents were banned by the International Football Association (FIFA) for two years. With the intervention of Emil Östreicher, however, Puskás managed to secure a contract with Real Madrid. He dropped his excess weight and soon became the team's leading personality.

In the 1960 European Cup, he scored four goals in a row, sealing Real's victory against Frankfurt (7-3). That year, he was voted Europe's second best football player, in the running for the Golden Ball award.

 

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