Soccer great Puskas dead

Budapest, November 17:

Hungarian soccer great Ferenc Puskas has died in a Budapest hospital. Puskas, 79, died today due to respiratory and circulatory failure.

Puskas had been hospitalised for six years with Alzheimer’s disease and was being treated for a fever and pneumonia for a couple of days. The captain of Hungary’s “Golden Team” of the 1950s had been in intensive care since September.

Puskas scored 84 goals in 85 matches for Hungary between 1945 and 1956, leading the team to an Olympic gold medal in 1952 and to the final of the 1954 World Cup, where it lost to West Germany.

To millions of fans in Hungary, Puskas was known as “Ocsi” (little brother) — and it made him “family.” He captained what England football great Billy Wright once called ‘the best team in the world’.

“Of all of us, he was the best,” the late Nandor Hidegkuti, also a member of the Golden Team, said at Puskas’ 70th birthday party in 1997. “He had a seventh sense — if there were 1,000 solutions, he’d pick the 1001st.”

In 1999, Puskas was voted the sixth-best player of the 20th century, behind Pele, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo Di Stefano and Diego Maradona.