December 2006, 21:57 Now We Have Lost Our Puskás As Well - Summary
Ferenc Puskás, who died at the age of 79, was given a grand funeral
tribute on Saturday. Ferenc Puskás was a gold-medal winner, an Olympic
Champion, and one of the most outstanding soccer players in the world. He
held the title "Sportsman of the Nation" in Hungary.
9 December 2006, 20:39 Soldiers of the Guard of the Republic bore Ferenc
Puskás to his final resting place in the crypt of Saint Stephen's Basilica.
Ferenc Puskás died on 17 November, at the age of 79. László Kiss-Rigó, the
local bishop of Szeged-Csanád County, blessed the coffin. Calvinist bishop
László Tőkés was also in attendance.
Only the closest family members were present in the crypt of Saint
Stephen's Basilica, where Ferenc Puskás was finally laid to rest.
9 December 2006, 20:36 Ferenc Puskas's coffin was carried into the crypt
of Saint Stephen's Basilica
December 2006, 20:31 The Funeral Service Ended
ASpeeches of commemoration were delivered by Mr. Juan Antonio Samaranch,
Chairman of the Internation Olympic Committee; Joseph S. Blatter,
representative of FIFA; István Kisteleki, leader of the Hungarian Football
Association; and László Kiss-Rigó, the local bishop of Szeged-Csanád
County. These speeches ended the funeral service. Then, the coffin was
taken to the front of the Basilica and placed back atop the gun carriage.
9 December 2006, 20:25 Kisteleki: Now We Have Lost Our Puskás As Well
"Now we have lost our Puskás as well," said István Kisteleki, President of
the Hungarian Football Association. "We fared badly at the World
Championship and at eliminatory rounds of the European Championship, but
you were always a kindling hope for us. You are unforgettable and immortal.
An everlasting example that there is a way to succeed. You were so great,
and you reached such heights that you have become unparalleled. You became
a legend in your own lifetime. Some unthinkable miracle - one you can
bring about with a simple ball in this world - you performed. A stadium
has immortalized you by bearing your name, and millions will remember your
performance forever. You had those marvellous feet. I envy the one who
last held your hand. Fare thee well!"
9 December 2006, 20:22 Lamperth: Now the Captain Has Rejoined His
Teammates in Heaven
Mónika Lamperth, Minister of Sports Affairs for Municipal and Regional
Development, referred to Ferenc Puskás's life as a hymn of glory and
called him "Sportsman of the World".
"It would be good to believe that we have come here not to bury, but to
see some wonder, a gambit of the Buddy Puskás variety. This could very
well be a gambit, too - the very last one. If he could see how the world
commemorates him, he would wink his eye, flash that impish smile and
probably say, 'See, I've won again. I've beaten that ugly twentieth
century.' Now, for a second, the ball perhaps comes to a perfect
standstill at the Copacabana, in Madrid, in Athens, and also in Melbourne.
His life revolved around the ball. In that ramshackle building that served
as his birthplace, nobody anticipated that there would come a day when the
whole world would revolve around Ferenc Puskás. For us - to whom he left
the legacy of his wonderful character, the 6-3 in London, his splendid
four goals in a single European Cup final - it is an eternal miracle that
when we utter the word HUNGARY, there comes the enthusiastic answer
PUSKÁS! And vice versa. When we say the name PUSKÁS, one word springs to
mind - HUNGARY.
"Puskás was awarded the title 'Sportsman of the Nation', but if we
look at this crowd, if we consider all the sportsmen, all the Olympic
Champions, I must say, he was the Sportsman of the World"
"Puskás's life was a hymn of glory, only it hurts that, in these very
moments, somewhere high above, his previously departed teammates are
receiving their captain once more. May you rest in peace!"
9 December 2006, 19:43 Tőkés: The Nation's Football Must Renew
"I have arrived from Oradea. Oradea has had a great soccer team in the
past four years. I am honoured to convey Transylvania's respects,
affection, compassion, and gratitude for having united the Hungarian
nation with your performance on the playing field." These were the opening
words of László Tőkés's speech.
The Calvinist Bishop of the Királyhágó Region said Puskás and the
Hungarian Golden Team were the best footballers at the time when the
Hungarian nation could only go to stadiums and sports grounds to recover
its self-esteem. Tőkés said that the situation is partly the same beyond
the borders of Hungary now, too.
"The word goal is of English origin, and it means aim. We must achieve our
aims. We must achieve our goals, fighting our battles with faith and a
cooperation that transcends national borders. This day is a tribute to the
team which fought not only as a football team, but also for the nation."
9 December 2006, 19:29 Outstanding Footballers Pray
The sermon was succeeded by prayers.
grateful to you, Lord, for the years you gave our brother Ferenc Puskás.
We are grateful that you let him become part of our lives. Give us the
strength that we be worthy of his memory," said Gyula Grosics, former
goal-keeper on the Golden Team.
Spokesman Gyula Szöllősi said a prayer for Puskás's family.
Bozsik Péter, the son of Puskás's closest friend József Bozsik, thanked
the Lord for Puskás's unique talent.
Lajos Détári, selected five time to represent the world's eleven best
soccer players, spoke about Puskás's achievement.
Franz Beckenbauer, Germany's world champion, thanked Hungary for turning
Puskás into a great soccer player, and he also thanked Spain and Europe
Imre Gellei, former captain of the Hungarian Football Association, thanked
the Lord for Puskás's life, for a life that did not simply roll by, but
9 December 2006, 19:26 Puskás's Medals and Badges of Honour in the
Students of the Ferenc Puskás Football School of Felcsút placed several of
Puskás's medals and badges of honour at the altar.
9 December 2006, 19:16 The Captian of All Leagues Has Called Puskás Off
László Kiss Rigó, the local bishop of Szeged-Csanád County, performed the
Catholic funeral service.
"The Captian of All Leagues has called Puskás off the field, not in order
to replace him, but to have him play in another league where there are no
losers and no winners. Our job now is to count him among the chosen," said
László Kiss Rigó, bishop of Szeged-Csanád County.
"Those who play on my side, I will select for the eternal team," so
delivered László Kiss-Rigó the Word of God. "where the referee never makes
an incorrect judgement and the joy of the game comes above all."
9 December 2006, 18:59 Sólyom: We Should Be Proud Together
"We are burying a great man," Mr. László Sólyom, the President of Hungary,
began his speech at Saint Stephen's Basilica. He continued, "In death,
external trappings no longer matter, for the final reckoning is already
"Ferenc Puskás was a good man. The whole nation is bereaved, because he
was an extraordinary player and gave people joy. He himself said that he
was an entertainer, but he gave much more than that."
President Sólyom emphasized that Ferenc Puskás handled well the gift he
had been allotted. "They knew him the world over, and the whole world
loved him ... Besides talent, one also needs good luck," said President
Sólyom, and he spoke about the collective language of football, which
everyone in the world understands.
Az ő játéktere olyan volt, ahol a valódi teljesítmény számít. Nem
botrányokkal lett híres, hanem a játékával.
In Puskás's field of activity, it was performance that really mattered. He
became famous through his playing, and not through his scandals ... He
gave us Hungarians so much by treating us to happiness and pride in a dark
period of our history ...
We should realize again that giving is pleasure," said the President.
"Puskás became a link between people. He conveyed an invitation for
something positive, and he continues to live after he has stopped playing.
Young people are happy to have found a national myth in Puskás. One who is
true to himself can unify people.
"This unifying spirit manifests itself now that this final farewell
has brought people together once again. It brings back the time when the
people of Hungary found it possible to share enthusiasm and pride. We
should also be capable of sharing in the same spirit now." These were
President Sólyom's concluding words.
9 December 2006, 18:58 The Memorial Service Began
The memorial service started with Hungarian President László Sólyom's
speech at Saint Stephen's Basilica.
9 December 2006, 18:46 The funeral march arrived at Saint Stephen's
Basilica. After the military honours and the march along Andrássy Avenue,
the crowd arrived at Saint Stephen's Basilica, where the Sportsman of the
Nation was to be buried.
9 December 2006, 18:45 Minor Incident at Kodály Circus
those in the funeral procession noticed a man on the roadside who held a
red-and-white-striped Árpád flag (considered by some to be nationalistic)
and a half-inflated ball. People started criticizing him, saying it was
not a day about political affairs and that the flag had no place there.
The quarrellers were soon separated by policemen, and two or three
patrolmen surrounded the flag-bearer.
carriage arrived at Heroes' Square, where the Hungarian Army bid farewell
to its distinguished departed with military honours. Attila B. Kiss sang
the aria "Homeland, Homeland" from Erkel's opera Bánk Bán. Ferenc Puskás
had been promoted to the rank of brigadier general posthumously. General
Tamás Szabó addressed a farewell speech to the Sportsman of the Nation.
Following his speech, they played the "Hungarian Retreat" accompanied by
December 2006, 17:30 Funeral March Proceeds Down Dózsa György Road
Our correspondent reports that six or seven thousand people are following
the gun carriage with Ferenc Psukás's coffin on it, heading towards Heroes'
Square. Candles are lit in windows to commemorate the legendary footballer.
9 December 2006, 17:23 Samaranch: I Will Treasure His Memory Forever
"I first met Buddy at the Helsinki Olympic Games," said Juan Antonio
Samaranch, former President of the International Olympic Committee. In his
statements for the magazine INDEX, he recalled that Puskás was a fantastic
footballer and a great character. "I'm awfully sorry that he has died. I
will treasure his memory for ever," stated Samaranch, who personally
honoured Ferenc Puskás at the International Olympic Committee's Order of
Merits in 1997.
9 December 2006, 17.10 Tolling and Drumming
The gun carriage with the coffin leaves Ferenc Puskás Stadium. The funeral
march proceeds towards Heroes' Square, where military honours are to be
paid to the deceased brigadier general.
December 2006, 17.01 The Hungarian national anthem closes the ceremony at
The coffin is placed on a gun carriage while the Hungarian national anthem
sounds. Then, the march, accompanied by Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" sung in
Spanish, sets out.
9 December 2006, 16:58 The coffin is removed from the catafalque.
The song entitled "There Has to Be a Final Word" by Ferenc Demjén is
played while the Guard's regiment removes Ferenc Puskás's coffin from the
catafalque. They place it on the gun carriage.
9 December 2006, 16:51. Buddy Puskás, Buddy Puskás!
During the funeral service in the stadium, the crowd chanted the words "Buddy
Puskás, Buddy Puskás!" again and again.
9 December 2006, 16:50 Jenő Buzánszky, one of the two surviving members of
the Golden Team, bade farewell to one of the greatest footballers in the
world. The former player on the Golden Team referred to his teammate as a
genius and emphasized that Buddy Puskás was a great human being his entire
"He was a true friend and a true sportsman on the football ground. He put
his name down in the golden book where great acts of the Hungarian people
are recorded." Buzánszky quoted the words of János Eszterházy, a writer
from the northern part of former Hungary, now part of Slovakia. With
another quotation from Albert Wass, Buzánszky emphasized the importance of
Buzánszky expressed his appreciation in this message to his long time
friend, "He elevated Hungarian football to the top of the world and kept
it there. His left foot drove the full-backs and the opposition teams
crazy. Be proud of your life, your career, and the affection of people who
addressed you simply as 'Uncle' Buddy."
"The heart of a nation and of the whole world is filled with pain. I wish
you meet the other members of the team in heaven!" said Buzánszky. "One
more star shines in the sky, and you are the brightest star for us," were
the closing words of Buzánszky's speech, which he delivered on his own and
Gyula Grosics's behalf..
December 2006, 16:47 Special Appreciation from the Spanish Association
Angel Maria Villar, President of the Spanish Football Association,
expressed his own farewell and that of the great family of the European
football world. He mentioned how Puskás, an extraordinary figure, unified
Europe, so divided at the time. He expressed his special appreciation to
the former Real Madrid player for his contribution to Spanish football.
Angel Maria Villar listed Puskás among the greatest Hungarians, besides
Petőfi, Liszt, and Bartók..
9 December 2006, 16:34 Ferenc Puskás Sings
While couples dance around the catafalque, Ferenc Puskás sings the song "My
Father Was in a Singing Mood", recorded back in Spain..
9 December 2006, 16:32 Calderon: Thank you, Hungary! Thank you, Pancho!
Vicente Calderon, current President of Real Madrid, commenced his speech
with the words "Puskás's death fills us with pain." He went on to say, "All
Spain is mourning the loss of Puskás, because he greatly contributed to
our team's becoming a shining star in the world. Puskás is a role model
for every child, a hero in Europe, in Spain, and in his native country.
Ferenc, for us, is unforgettable."
Claderon stated that Puskás's comradeship, kindness, and generosity set an
example for every Real player who put on the team's strip.
"We are happy to have had him on our team."
"I'm grateful to God for allowing this genius to be born and allowing him
to be a member of our team. We must do our best to properly preserve his
memory," said Calderon, who finished his speech by saying, "Thank you,
Hungary! Thank you, Pancho!"
December 2006, 16:30 György Szepesi Bade Farewell to a Very Good Friend
György Szepesi, the legendary sports reporter and honorary president of
the Hungarian Football Association, bade a personal farewell to his very
good long-time friend.
"I am addressing you from outside the field line, and I am talking to
you about one of the legends of this magical game. We are honouring one of
the greatest sons of the Hungarian people. Thank you for giving me the
chance to be in your presence and the chance to report on your wonderful
György Szepesi recalled the family relationships of the best-known
Hungarian, his attachment to his native land, his religious commitment,
and his sports career that was based on absolute fair play. Szepesi
recalled how Ferenc Puskás relinquished the title "Best Scorer" in favour
of Di Stefano in the 1959 Spanish Football Championship. "Since football
lives forever, Buddy Puskás's memory will live forever," went Szepesi's
9 December 2006, 16:20 Guests of Honour Receive Memorial Plaque
The Hungarian Football Association commissioned sculptor Kligl Sándor of
Szeged to make the memorial plaques which were bestowed upon the guests of
honour at Puskás's funeral.
One side of the medal carries the picture of the captain of the Hungarian
Golden Team as shown in a photograph from 1953. The other side shows the
Hungarian Football Association's coat of arms. Altogether, there are 20
silver and 200 silver-plated pieces of this kind.
9 December 2006, 16:08 Schmitt: Thank God for Giving Us This Genius
Zoltán Novotny, the first speaker, read out the speech written by Pál
Schmitt, who was taken ill Friday morning. Mr. Schmitt's message was that
we are bidding farewell to the Olympic Champion, the sportsman, the fellow
human being, everyone's Buddy Puskás.
In his speech, Pál Schmitt posed the question, "Can the joy of
anticipation," referring to Advent, "match the pain of loss in our souls?"
The message also expressed Mr. Schmitt's grievances, since he believed
that Puskás, in his final years, did not have the fortune to enjoy in
comfort what he had achieved.
heart, wherever he lived or was in the world, his heart always was in
Besides his grievances, Schmitt conveyed in his message that the
expression "Thank God" carried a special message. "Thanks for giving this
genius to us, the Hungarians, so our country could have a proper means of
identification, and the words Puskás and Hungarian could be pronounced
together the world over.""
His address continued, "Puskás worked on five continents of the Earth, but
wherever he was, he remained a Hungarian boy from Kispest. Whatever
nicknames he bore - the Speedy Major or the Little Cannon - for us, he was
always Buddy. We should certainly be proud of him, all the fifteen million
In his message, Pál Schmitt, Chairman of the Hungarian Olympic Committee
and an Olympic champion, also mentioned Puskás's generosity and
unselfishness. "He was just one of us, a team player.""
Schmitt also quoted Goethe, "Real value will not be misplaced." He then
put the question, "Will there be schools, streets, stadiums, associations,
and squares named after him?" His answer was yes.
He concluded with the parting thought that the line of strikers was united
in Heaven, since all but two of the members of the Golden Team had already
9 December 2006, 16:02 Puskas's Coffin on the Catafalque
The Guard's Division of the Republic placed the best-known Hungarian's
coffin on the catafalque in the central ring of the stadium. Then, the
poem entitled "Szózat", recited by Zoltán Latinovits, was broadcast, and
part of Verdi's Requiem was performed by Katalin Pitti and the Hungarian
Radio's Children's Choir.
9 December 2006, 15:54 Pál Schmitt Unable to Deliver His Speech
On Friday morning, Pál Schmitt, president of the committee responsible for
the funeral service, had heart problems and was taken to hospital. His
doctors advised him not to deliver his speech at the funeral..
9 December 2006, 15:52 The Pros Come Marching In
Footballers of the First League and the Second League line up around the
football field for the funeral service.
9 December 2006, 15:49 Four Thousand in the Stands
A few minutes before the funeral service was to start a mere 4000 people
occupied Puskás Stadium.
The area around the stadium resembles a football match event. Pretzels,
cookies, and chocolate bars are being sold around Puskás Stadium. The
vendors create an atmosphere as though it were a Saturday football match.
Besides the food, one can buy black flags, too.
9 December 2006, 15:29 VIPs Arrive
Rudolf Ilovszky, a legendary Vasas player, has appeared on the grandstand
- together with Máté Fenyvesi of FTC; István Sándor, a football coach from
the Kárpátalja Region (formerly a part of Hungary, now part of the Ukraine);
and Olympic champion fencer György Nébald..
9 December 2006, 15:22 Candles Lit
Attendance is still very poor at the stadium, but those who have come have
lit candles at the organisers' request.
9 December 2006, 15:07 March of Commemoration
The program of the funeral service, due to start at 4 p.m., consists of
twenty points, as organized by the responsible committee.
First "Szózat", the second Hungarian national anthem, was played. It was
followed by part of Verdi's Requiem. The first speaker was to be Pál
Schmitt, Chairman of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and president of the
organising committee responsible for the funeral. His speech was to be
followed by an excerpt from a film. Then, György Szepesi, the sports
announcer on each and every Golden Team match, spoke in the name of Ferenc
At Mrs. Ferenc Puskás's request, Jose Carreras was to sing. The programme
did not make it clear whether the world famous singer would appear in
speech was to be delivered by Vicente Calderone, current Real Madrid
President. This was to be followed by a video clip of Ferenc Puskás
singing the song entitled "My Father Was in a Singing Mood"..
A speech by Angel Maria Villar, President of the Spanish Football
Association, was to be followed by a musical version of the prayer "Our
At Puskás's catafalque, the actor László Csurka was to recite a poem by
Zoltán Szöllősi, and "Evening Song" by Zoltán Kodály was to be played.
Jenő Buzánszky, a member of the Golden Team, was to be the last speaker.
Then, a video recording would show Ferenc Demjén performing the song "There
Has to Be a Final Word"..
9 December 2006, 15:06 Words Come from the Cross
At the players' entrance to the stadium, a black platform was built where
the speakers were to bid farewell to the world-class Budapest Honvéd and
Real Madrid footballer who passed away on 17 November 2006, at the age of
79. They also placed a church bell and six candlesticks on the platform.
The projector showed the Hungarian national banner bearing the words "THE
NATION BIDS HER FAREWELL" within its white stripe.
9 December 2006, 14:37 For the Time Being, Few in the Stadium
One hour before the ceremony is due to start, there are only between three
and four hundred people in the stadium. The projector shows the wonderful
goal scored at the 6-3 match in London, as Puskás passes the ball by
Wright. Then, pictures of Puskás's first return to Hungary, in 1986, are
December 2006, 14:32 The Real Madrid Airplane Has Landed
Real Madrid's charter flight lands at Ferihegy Airport at 2 p.m. Among the
members of the delegation are President Vicente Calderon, who is to
deliver a speech, and former teammates Gento and Santamaria. There is no
information whether anyone of the current players has travelled to the
funeral. Tonight Real is to play a very important league match with
Sevilla, which is also in the first three. Hence, the delegation will
return to Madrid immediately after the farewell ceremony is over..
9 December 2006, 14:04 Intense Media Interest
Thirty-six foreign journalists representing fourteen television stations
have arrived. Not only the BBC, but a Brazil Broadcasting Company is also
present. Press representatives have come from Romania, Russia, Slovakia,
Yugoslavia, and, of course, from Spain. France's Football and Germany's
Kicker have also sent correspondents.
9 December 2006, 13:38 People Make Their Way to Puskás Stadium
Ten minutes before the gates were opened, about two hundred people were
waiting at the Stefánia Avenue entrance to Puskás Ferenc Stadium. Our
correspondent has reported that traffic is intense in the neighbourhood
with more and more people arriving by subway and trolley bus.
On the trolley No. 75, young girls wrapped in FTC shawls said they never
saw Puskás play live, but having seen some recordings, they could tell it
was unfortunate that Hungarian football had no players of Puskás's calibre
Our correspondent has just encountered Krisztián Lisztes, the mid-fielder,
as he was approaching the stadium in his Best Eleven track suit.
9 December 2006, 13:21 BBC News of the Funeral
The BBC's webpage reports that on Saturday, marked as the Day of Mourning,
Ferenc Puskás's funeral is taking place. The BBC's public media internet
service sums up Puskás's biography and the funeral schedule. It also
quotes Gyula Grosics, the goal-keeper of the Golden Team, that their team
did not take only the result into account, but always intended to
entertain the public as well.
December 2006, 13:17 Another 13 Million HUF for the Funeral
Spokeswoman Emese Danks told the Hungarian News Agency (MTI) that besides
the subsidy allotted so far, the government offered the Hungarian Olympic
Committee another 13 million Hungarian forints to cover Ferenc Puskás's
funeral expenses, bringing the states total contribution to over 73
"The government also supports the funeral arrangements. It provides
police and ambulance services and a compliment of military at Heroes'
Square," runs the government spokeswoman's announcement. It also states
that the 13 million forints will cover the operational and technical
expenses of the funeral.
Spokeswoman Emese Danks also said that the government undertook to pay for
the grave and the essential costs of the funeral. The government would
make the stadium named after the football legend available for the funeral
ceremony called "The Nation's Farewell".
The expense of the catafalque set up at Saint Stephen's Basilica were
covered by the Ministry of Municipal and Regional Development.
Announcements made earlier said the government would cover 60 million of
the total 180-million-forint price tag for the funeral ceremony.
9 December 2006, 10:32 Star Footballer Funerals - Half a Million on the
Garrincha of Brazil was laid out in state in one of the largest stadiums
in the world, and Best's death caused a stir in the whole of Belfast.
December 2006, 9:06 National Banner Hoisted and Lowered
Accompanied by military honours, The Hungarian national banner was hoisted
at Kossuth Square, then lowered ceremoniously for the funeral of football
legend Ferenc Puskás, died 17 November, at the age of 79. Those
participating in the ceremony were Mihály Bihari, President of the
Constitutional Court; László Sólyom, President of the Hungarian Republic;
Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány; Katalin Szili, Chairman of the Hungarian
Parliament; and Zoltán Lomnici, President of the Supreme Court.
the five public dignitaries, representatives of the government and the
parties, foreign diplomatic representatives, and several officials of
sports affairs took part in the ceremony.
The streets leading to Kossuth Square were sealed off by the police, and
only those authorised were admitted.
9 December 2006, 9:02 Sixth Day of Mourning Since Fall of Communism in
The 17th of November will be a Day of Mourning in Hungary in honour of
Ferenc Puskás, died at the age of 79. The "Day of Mourning" precedent was
set by a government decree in 2001. There have been six such occasions.
For special reasons, days of mourning have been arranged in Hungary
9 December 2006, 8:33 Roads Closed for Puskás's Funeral
Friday evening preparations and Saturday afternoon and evening funeral
marches for Ferenc Puskás have given rise to traffic restrictions in
9 December 2006, 8:00 Farewell to Puskás in Kossuth Square, in Puskás
Stadium, at Heroes' Square, and in Saint Stephen's Basilica
The last farewell to Ferenc Puskás, who died 17 November at the age of 79,
will take place on Saturday. At Kossuth Square, the Hungarian national
banner will be hoisted, then lowered again. The ceremony entitled "Nation's
Farewell" will be held at Ferenc Puskás Stadium. Admission for the public
starts at 2 p.m. The funeral ceremony starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until 5
taking Dózsa György Road, the funeral procession will set out for Heroes'
Square, where the brigadier general will be given military honours. After
military honours, the coffin, accompanied by a march down Andrássy Avenue,
will be taken to Saint Stephen's Basilica, where a memorial service will
be held at 7 p.m. The public will be able to watch the memorial service on
monitors. Ferenc Puskás will be taken to his final resting place in the
presence of his closest family members