Friday, November 17, 2006

RIP Puskas

While most of the desi blogosphere seems to be writing obituaries to Milton Friedman, the death of the legendry Hungarian footballer Ferenc Puskas seems to have escaped the notice of most desi bloggers.

Puskas is one of the best strikers ever in my book, even better than his compariot, Alfredo de Stefano, who played alongside him at Real Madrid. While I have not had the pleasure of ever watching a game of his, his exploits present a vivid story of a remarkable footballer. He had an astonishing goal scoring record for both club and country, scoring 84 goals in 85 appearances for Hungary, and 324 goals in 372 appearances for Real Madrid! The highlight of his career is undoubtably the European Cup final of 1960 against Eintracht Frankfurt at Glasgow, where he scored four goals in a 7-3 win (de Stefano scored the other three)! He had also made it a habit of scoring hat-tricks for Real Madrid in big games, including one in the European Cup final of 1962 against Benfica, and yet ended up on the losing side on that occasion!

Predictably, he was very popular in Hungary. When he returned to Hungary in 1981 to play a game, the demand for tickets was five times the stadium capacity; this for a game whose only publicity was by word-of-mouth!

I doff my cap off to one of the most brilliant footballers of all times!