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Ferenc opinion: Puskas always hungry for goals

sports Updated: May 28, 2010 00:45 IST

If you could put all the superlatives in the English language together to describe a footballer, it would perhaps serve as an accurate description of Hungarian great and football legend, Ferenc Puskas. The ‘Magical Magyars’ as the Hungarians were known in the 1950s, have ben widely regarded as the best team never to win a world cup, and in that team of greats, Puskas led the way.

When his international career came to an abrupt end in the wake of the 1956 Hungary uprising, he had accumulated 84 goals in 85 international appearances, a record that remains to this day, and an international strike rate that is unrivalled.

During an invincible six-year spell from 1950-56, Puskas captained Hungary to a remarkable sequence of results, losing only one match. Unfortunately for him, the sole blemish on the record came in the most important game of them all — the 1954 World Cup final. Given an international call-up in 1945, Puskas scored the first of his international goals on his debut in a 5-2 win over Austria. That was when the floodgates lifted. Hungary became the first country beat England at home in 1953.

Puskas missed the 1954 World Cup quarterfinals and semifinals through injury but returned for the final in Berne. Though Puskas scored the first as Hungary went into a 2-0 lead, he was clearly struggling, and Germany battled their way back into the match to record a famous 3-2 upset. Puskas died in November 2006 at the age of 79.