8 of 12 – A Vagtato Nagy

Starting his career in the South of Budapest with his local side Kispest, Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskas notched up an amazing 187 goals in 177 appearances. After the Hungarian Army took control of the team and renamed it Budapest Honved, Puskas kept up his fantastic scoring rate with a further 165 goals in 164 games. Because of the club’s ownership by the Army, each player was given a military rank. This gave Puskas his nickname of “a Vagtato Nagy”, or “The Galloping Major”.

Ferenc was also part of the Magical Magyars Hungarian National team which inflicted England’s biggest defeat at Wembley (6-3), and then in the return game giving them their heaviest ever defeat (a 7-1 victory in Budapest).

His 84 goals in 85 games helped Hungary to the 1947 Balkan Cup, the 1952 Olympic Gold, The 1953 Central European Championships and a 1954 World Cup Runners-Up Medal.

In 1956, Honved travelled to Spain to face Atletico Bilbao in a European Cup tie. After the first leg, the Hungarian Revolution erupted in Budapest. The players decided not to return to Hungary, and played the return leg in Belgium. After summoning their families from Budapest, the players toured Italy, Portugal, Spain and Brazil to raise funds. After the tour, some players returned to Hungary, but after a two-year ban imposed by UEFA for refusing to return, Puskas chose to play in Spain and signed for Real Madrid.

During his time in the Spanish Capital, he scored 157 times in 182 games, helping Real to three European Cups, One Intercontinental Cup, Five Spanish Leagues, and one Spanish Cup.

In 1961, Puskas gained Spanish Citizenship, and went on to make four appearances for the Spanish National Team.

After being pardoned for his defection by the Hungarian Government in 1993, the Népstadion National Stadium in Budapest was renamed in 2002 as the Puskas Ferenc Stadion.

2009 also saw FIFA bring in the FIFA Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the most beautiful goal of the year.

Voted both the European and World Player of the Year in 1953 and named by L’Equipe as the European Player of the 20th Century, along with many other awards, Ferenc Puskas truly deserves his place in the Los Revolucionarios team.


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