PUSKÁS Madrid, Magyars and the Amazing Adventures of the World's Greatest Goalscorer

György Szöllősi

Ferenc Puskás was the greatest goalscorer football has known, but that is only part of his story. He was the star of the state-sponsored army team of Hungary, Honved, and the national team that won Olympic gold, reached the final of the World Cup and humiliated England 6-3 and 7-1 in matches that became landmarks in world football. As Budapest burned with the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, Honvéd were in Vienna preparing for a match in Bilbao. With tensions on the rise and the hard-line communist regime enforcing its authority, Puskás was one of the players who chose exile – and a possible death sentence if he ever returned to his beloved homeland. His second career began after he turned 30 and had endured 1.5 year out of football due to an Eastern Bloc-sponsored FIFA ban. As a Real Madrid player alongside Di Stefano and Gento, he became Spanish champion five times, the Spanish league’s top goalscorer four times, European Cup winner three times and an Inter-continental champion. After he stopped playing Puskás travelled the world as a coach and, after the Iron Curtain came down, was able to return to Hungary, where he remains one of the nation’s most famous and celebrated son.