'Galloping Major' Puskas dies at 79

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The Independent Football

Hungary and Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas - one of football's all-time greats - has died after long battle against pneumonia.







The 79-year-old, nicknamed the 'Galloping Major', had been in intensive care at a Budapest hospital for two months but had also been confined to hospital for six years with Alzheimer's disease.

He led his country's 'Golden Team' of the early 1950s, and was part of the first foreign side to beat England at Wembley, winning 6-3 on 25 November 1953 in one of the game's most famous upsets.

Puskas later took Spanish citizenship and became part of Real Madrid's all-conquering side, which claimed five successive European Cups between 1956 and 1960.

Puskas' international goalscoring record was truly remarkable.

In 84 matches for Hungary between 1945 and 1956, he scored 83 times, including two goals in the Magical Magyars' famous match against England.

He also starred in a subsequent 7-1 win in Budapest which saw Hungary made favourites for the 1954 World Cup.

However, an injury limited his impact in Switzerland and the Magyars lost in the final to Germany.

He won the nickname the 'Galloping Major' after serving in the Hungarian Army.

Puskas went on to enjoy unprecedented success at Real Madrid, where he and Alfredo di Stefano were the cornerstone of a succession of domestic and European glories.

He scored four goals in Real's 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in a remarkable final at Hampden Park in 1960, and won the European Cup three times in all.

He scored 512 goals in 528 matches for Real and in 1962 he took out Spanish citizenship in time to play for his adopted country at the 1962 World Cup.



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