Ferenc Puskás, The Galloping Major

Comment Posted by: Roberta Gyori

Do you know who scored the most goals ever for a national soccer team?

There is soccer fever all over, as people everywhere are tuned in to watch the World Cup. Even though Hungary is not part of the 2010 games, soccer fans around the world probably know the answer…

The Galloping Major

Ferenc Puskás

Ferenc Puskás, 'The Galloping Major' (1927–2006), regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, is undoubtedly the most famous Hungarian athlete. During the 1950s, he was captain of the legendary Hungarian national team, known as the 'Mighty Magyars', which in 1953 became the first team ever to beat England at Wembley Stadium. The score was 6-3; some Brits are still sore over it…

Puskás and Hungary were unbeaten for four years, during which they became Olympic Champions in 1952. When they arrived in Switzerland to play in the World Cup in 1954, they entered as the favorites to win. However, the Hungarian team lost 3-2 in the final against West Germany. Despite being silver medalist, Hungary was in shock as their four-year unbeaten record came to an end.

In 1956, the year of the Hungarian Revolution, the team broke up and many players signed with clubs in Western Europe. In 1958 Puskás immigrated to Spain where he played for the legendary Real Madrid team, which included Alfredo Di Stefano. He spent eight seasons at Real Madrid and was the league's top scorer four times. After retiring as a player, Puskás had a successful coaching career. He coached teams in Spain, USA, Canada, Greece, Paraguay, Chile, Australia and Egypt. One of his biggest triumphs was when he guided the Greek Panathinaikos to the European Cup Finals in 1971.

The Galloping Major

Puskás in action

Every country excels at something - Hungary has always had outstanding athletes and it once was amongst the world’s soccer powerhouses, thanks to the 'Mighty Magyars' and 'The Galloping Major'. He played 84 times for Hungary and scored a world record of 83 goals! No player, not even Pelé, has scored that many goals for a national team…

Hungarians' affection for soccer and its greatest Hungarian player ever hasn't changed over the years. Puskás became synonymous with Hungary. When Puskás - exiled from Hungary - returned to Budapest in 1981 for an exhibition game, demand for tickets was five times the capacity of the stadium. When he died at the age of 79 in 2006, Hungarians observed a day of mourning. Budapest's main soccer stadium is also named Ferenc Puskás Stadium.

For all you soccer fans out there I can highly recommend the 2009 documentary by Tamás Almási titled 'Puskás Hungary'. It follows his career, personal life and passion for the game and includes original black-and-white footage from several legendary soccer games.

You are reading: Ferenc Puskás, The Galloping Major
Posted in: Budapest Blog & Articles  Category: Hungarian History, Made in Hungary

tags: famous hungarians

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