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Legend of Puskas: From belly jokes to football greatness

And so, the story of Ferenc Puskas's remarkable journey with Real Madrid began. At the age of 31, Puskas arrived at the club overweight by 12 kilos, following a two-year suspension by UEFA. But what followed was nothing short of extraordinary...

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Legend of Puskas: From belly jokes to football greatness

Once upon a time, in the realm of football, there was a legendary tale that began with a humorous exchange between Carniglia, the coach of Real Madrid, and Antonio Calderón, the club’s manager.

“The president has signed Puskas,” Carniglia announced.

“What about his belly?” Calderón quipped.

“You’ll take care of the belly yourself,” came the witty reply.

And so, the story of Ferenc Puskas’s remarkable journey with Real Madrid began. At the age of 31, Puskas arrived at the club overweight by 12 kilos, following a two-year suspension by UEFA. But what followed was nothing short of extraordinary.

Despite his weight, Puskas became a goal-scoring machine, netting an astounding 242 goals in 262 official matches. His prowess on the field helped lead Real Madrid to three European Cups, five La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one Intercontinental Cup, and earned him four Pichichi Trophies.

Ferenc Puskás, born in Budapest in 1927, is celebrated as one of football’s greatest players, leaving an indelible mark on the sport. Not only did Puskás excel as a player, but he also found success as a coach, leading various teams to victory.

He played a pivotal role in Hungary’s national team achievements during the 1950s and boasted an impressive goal-scoring record of 706 goals in 706 competitive matches.

READ ALSO: Benzema hat trick at Camp Nou smashes Puskás 60-year-old record

Joining Real Madrid in 1958, Puskás contributed to their golden era with multiple title wins, showcasing his remarkable left foot prowess on the field. Renowned for his precise shots and passes, he emerged as the top scorer in the 1960 European Championship.

Even after retirement, Puskás’s memory lives on through the annual FIFA Puskás Award, honoring the most beautiful goal of the year, and he remains an iconic figure in Hungarian football.

Beyond his achievements on the field, Ferenc Puskás’s legacy continues to inspire players and fans alike with his technical skills, dedication, and love for the game. FIFA honored him in 2004 as one of the sport’s greatest players, and he received the Golden Foot award in 2006 for his contributions to football.

Despite his passing in 2006, so impactful was his contribution to the sport that the award for the best goal of the season now bears his name—the Puskas Award—a fitting tribute to a true football giant.

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