17 November 2006, 8:41
legendary captain of the Golden Team died at the age of 79. In the last
six years of his life, the football hero was treated at the Kútvolgyi
Hospital and transferred to the intensive care unit in mid September
serious, chronic illness, Ferenc Puskás passed away at 7 a.m., on Friday,
17 November, at the age of 79. György Szöllősi, the family's spokesman,
informed the Hungarian News Service (MTI) that with his death, Hungary had
lost the greatest footballer of all time.
News from the family
After a serious, chronic illness, Ferenc Puskás passed away at 7
a.m., on Friday, 17 November, at the age of 79. György Szöllősi, the
family's spokesman, informed the Hungarian News Service (MTI) that
with his death, Hungary had lost the greatest footballer of all time.
György Szöllősi, speaking for the family, addressed the following
words to the Hungarian Press Agency:
"In these difficult moments, we feel that all his friends and
followers will join us in mourning the death of Ferenc Puskás, the
great sportsman, the enthusiastic trainer, the devoted patriot, and
the wonderful husband and father. We know how so many of you would
like to condole with us in our loss, and this fills our family with
deep pride and respect. We would like to ask members of the press
and followers to respect our wishes and allow us to mourn in peace
in these painful and difficult days. Our friend Pál Schmitt,
Chairman of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, the former Hungarian
ambassador to Madrid, and President of the Ferenc Puskás Tribute
Committee, has offered his help in preparing and arranging the
"In the next few days the organisers will convey the most important
facts to the press. We thank you for the countless messages of
condolence and offers of assistance we have received.
Mrs. Ferenc Puskás
football star was treated at the Kútvőlgyi Hospital for the past six years,
before being transferred to the intensive care unit. The hospital allowed
Ferenc Puskás to leave the hospital for a few hours on special occasions.
His death was caused by breathing and circulatory complications.
Hungarian fans elected the captain of football's Golden Team the greatest
sportsman of the 20th century.
Sixteen Years Old in Kispest
world's greatest football encyclopaedia (edited by Keir Radnedge), former
English footballer Gary Lineker devoted two whole pages to Ferenc Puskás's
talents. He called him the footballer with the "magic left foot". Puskás's
name appeared with football stars like Diego Maradona, Eusebio, Pelé,
Johann Cruyff, Bobby Charlton, Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo di Stefano,
Stanley Matthews, and Lev Jasin.
At 16, Puskás became a member of the Kispest football team. His father
worked as his trainer the first few years and took the left-footed "Buddy"
on as an inside left. It was in this position that, at the age of 18,
Puskás made his debut, playing against Austria in 1945.
goalie Gyula Grosics, the right half-back József Bozsik, and the three
forwards Sandor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, and Ferenc Puskás formed the
backbone of the team. For four years, they were unbeatable. These
fantastic victories came to an end at the very worst time, during the
World Cup final against Germany (2-3), when Puskás suffered an injury.
Course of Life
Date and place of birth: 1 April 1927, Kispest, Budapest
Original name: Ferenc Purczeld
Goals: 85/84 (Hungary), 4/0 (Spain)
Position: left half-back
Member of the following clubs: Kispest football team,
1942-1945; Budapest Honvéd, 1949-1956 (He took part in 349 Hungarian
matches, scoring 358 goals.); and Real Madrid, 1958 to 1967 (playing
179 games and scoring 154 goals).
Trainer for the following clubs: Alicante (Spanish), San
Francisco Gales (American), Vancouver Royals (Canadian),
Panathinaikos (Greek), Colo-Colo (Chilean), the Saudi Arabian
National Team, FCL Murcia (Spanish), AEK Athens (Greek), Al-Masri (Egyptian),
Soi de America and Cerro Porteno (Paraguayan), Panhellenic Melbourne
(Australian), and the Hungarian National Team (in four matches from
April to July 1993).
Career highlights on the Hungarian National Team:
Olympic champion (1952, Helsinki)
World Cup silver medal (1954, Switzerland)
European Cup winner (1953)
Career highlights with Budapest Honvéd:
Five-time champion (1949-1950, autumn 1950, 1952, 1954, and 1955)
Four-time Hungarian top scorer (50 goals in 1947-1948, 31 goals in
1949-1950, 25 goals in autumn 1950, and 27 goals in 1953)
Career highlights with Real Madrid:
Three-time European Cup champion (1958-59, 1959-60 - in the final
Puskás scored four goals, a record that still stands today - and
Two-time best scorer in the European Cup (12 goals in 1959-60, tying
for first place with 7 goals in 1961-62)
World Cup winner (1960)
Six-time Spanish champion (1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64,
Two-time Spanish Cup finalist champion (1958,1962)
Four-time Spanish top scorer (28 goals in 1959-60, 27 goals in
1960-60, 36 goals in 1962-63, and 20 goals in 1963-64)
World Cup team (1963)
European Cup team (1965)
Results in elections for the Golden Ball Award: 2nd place,
1960; 4th place, 1956; 5th place, 1961; 7th place, 1959
Greatest achievements as a trainer:
European Cup final with Panathinaikos (1971)
Three-time Greek football champion - Panathinaikos, twice (1970,
1972); AEK Athens, once (1979)
Australian finalist (1991) and Australian Cup winner (1990) -
National Sports Award (2004)
Greatest Sportsman of the 20th century
Member of the Immortal Club (1991)
Golden Foot Award (2006)
European Champion (2006)
Member of the Sports Hall of Fame
International Olympic Council Award (1997)
Gold Order of the Republic of Hungary (1997)
Hungarian Order of Fame (1997)
Hungarian President of FIFA
S.O.S. Children's Village Movement
Promotion by the Hungarian army - first to lieutenant (1992), then
to colonel (1995).
outbreak of the 1956 Revolution, Puskás and his Honvéd team were playing
in Spain against Bilbao in the European Cup. After the match, they did not
return to Hungary. Initially, Puskás intended to sign a contract to play
in Italy, but the Italian football clubs turned him down, because they
thought he was too old.
with the help of his old manager Emil Östreicher, Puskás signed a contract
with Real Madrid, where he achieved unrivalled success. He became top
scorer within the Spanish football league four times, and together with
Alfredo di Stefano, they made up one of the best offensive duos of all
time. In the European Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt, Real Madrid
won 7-3, Puskás scoring 4 goals in the match in Hampden Park, Glasgow,
watched by 130,000 spectators. (The other 3 goals were scored by Di
Spanish supporters raved about Puskás, nicknaming him Canoncito (little
cannon). The Spanish National Team took part in the World Cup in Chile in
European Cup with Panathinaikos
years later, at the age of 39, Puskás stepped down and invested the money
he had earned from his football career in various enterprises (including a
Madrid sausage factory). He then worked as a trainer and achieved his
greatest success with the Greek team Panathinaikos. In the 1971 European
Cup, the Greek football team reached the final in Wembley Stadium, London,
but were beaten by the Amsterdam team Ajax (2-0).
MWhen Puskás returned to Hungary many years later, supporters from all
over the country welcomed him as a real hero. He had never worked as a
trainer for any sports club in Hungary, but he was appointed manager of
the Hungarian National Team in 1993, from April to July. This was the last
post in his career as a trainer.
Puskás received several awards for his achievements. In a festive event on
28 August 2006, his footprint was placed on the Walk of Champions in Monte
Carlo, where outstanding players in the history of football are
Madrid President: A Role Model Lost
Calderon, President of Real Madrid, stated that Ferenc Puskás's death was
a terrible loss to him, and 17 November 2006 was one of the most painful
days of his office and painful for the Real Madrid Club as a whole.
"Puskás was the mythical forward of our mythical team. His friends were
numerous, because everybody loved him both as a footballer and a person.
We'll remember his countless marvellous goals and his record as a
four-time top scorer is one-of-a-kind. The people of Madrid and my
generation feel the loss painfully, because we've lost a great role model,"
said the Real Madrid President on the club's home page. Calderon was among
the first to express his condolences to Mrs. Ferenc Puskás, whom he
assured of the club's all-round support.
Gyurcsány: The Legend Lives On
Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány said Puskás's death leaves no Hungarian
"It is a rare and exceptional moment that a nation, a society mourns
and remembers as one body. Today is such a moment, because it is no
exaggeration when we say there is no Hungarian untouched by the
death of Ferenc Puskás - or, as we lovingly called him, 'Buddy'
Puskás," says the prime minister's communiqué.
A Moment of Silence
parliament paid tribute to Puskás Ferenc's memory by standing
for a moment of silence. János Áder, Vice Chairman of the
opposition party FIDESZ (Young Democrats), interrupted the
parliament's meeting on the 2007 national budget to announce
"We all known that Mr. Puskás has been fighting his illness
for a long time, but this morning 'Uncle' Buddy has left us,"
said János Áder, adding that a short while before, Hungarian
soccer fans had chosen Puskás the greatest sportsman of the
minister referred to the legendary footballer, who died at 79, as the most
famous Hungarian of the 20th century, and whose name is still identified
with Hungary. "We knew it when he was alive, and we'll never forget after
his death, how lucky a nation can feel that is associated with and known
by his name. Buddy Puskás was one of the great ones who created a great
nation. We are grateful to him for this.
"Ferenc Puskás himself represented not only the Golden Team, but the
Golden Age of Hungarian Football. With his death now, we say farewell to
the most glorious period of the history of Hungarian Football as well,"
runs the communiqué.
Ferenc Gyurcsány's communiqué ends, "The legend lives on.""
Flags of Mourning on Sports Establishments
the death of Ferenc Puskás, one of the best footballers of all time and
the most famous Hungarian sportsman, was received with grief by Mónika
Lamperth, Minister of Sports Affairs for Municipal and Regional
Development. The minister expressed her condolences and sympathy to the
football legend's family and the Hungarian Sports Society at the
Mónika Lamperth's communiqué reads, "Ms. Mónika Lamperth kindly asks the
leaders of all Hungarian sports establishments to place a flag of mourning
on the buildings and duly commemorate at the weekend's sporting events the
football legend who died 79.".
leading article, the website of the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ)
gives a detailed account of Puskás's death and the most important stations
of his career. The article stresses that it was the initiative of the
Hungary Football Association to rename Népstadion (People's Stadium)
Ferenc Puskás Stadium and to give the most gifted player at Hungarian
championships an award bearing Puskás's name.
The Hungarian Football Association, the Hungarian Olympic Committee, and
the Ministry of Municipal and Regional Development consider Ferenc Puskás
their own departed.
"We are filled with unbelievable sadness at the death of Ferenc
Puskás," István Kisteleki, President of the Hungarian Football Association,
told the Hungarian News Service (MTI). "Naturally, the MLSZ will work to
aid the family with every means at its disposal. I believe, after such a
tragedy, it is worthwhile for everyone to stop a moment and think over
certain things, since several things in this country are not going the way
they should. This is one hundred times true of Hungarian football."
George F. Hemingway, the owner of Budapest Honvéd, Ferenc Puskás's one and
only football club in his home country, was shocked to learn of the
passing of the greatest Hungarian footballer of all time. He stressed that
the league considered him its own departed. "He was not just an
outstanding player, he was an outstanding human being as well. It sums up
everything about him that he made two teams, Honvéd and Real Madrid -
indeed, two countries, Hungary and Spain - greats in the world of football,"
Hemingway remarked to MTI.
Between 1942 and 1956, Ferenc Puskás scored 358 goals in 349 championship
matches for Kispest AC and later its legal successor, Budapest Honvéd.
With this club, he became a champion five times, as well as the top scorer
altogether four times. By then, the league had already retired the No. 10
and UEFA Remember Him
International (FIFA) and European (UEFA) Football Associations alike put
the news of Ferenc Puskás's death in leading positions on their internet
FIFA's website included the deceased among their list of the greatest
football players of all time, adding that he had won championship titles
with both Honvéd and Real Madrid, capturing the European Cup with the
latter team three times, as well as serving as the motor for the "Magical
Hungarians", the Golden Team.
With extensive material, FIFA recalls how the 84 goals he scored on the
Hungarian National Team earn the classic player a prominent place on the
list of all-time greats. Moreover, the IFFHS, an organisation dealing with
football history and statistics, voted him the fourth best player in the
On UEFA's internet website, two separate articles recall the important
stages in Puskás's career as a player and as a coach, as well as his
achievements. They emphasise that the striker was blessed with one of the
best left feet in the sport's history. They also quote a statement of
Puskás's, which reveals that the ball was truly his talisman. "I am only
at ease when it is with me," he claimed.