Ferenc Puskás, László Kubala, and József Bozsik have been nominated for a Ballon d’Or dream team by French football magazine and prize founder France Football.
This year, due to difficulties in assessing player performance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ballon d’Or will not be handed out. Instead, fans and judges get to vote on the best players since the inception of the prize, and put together an ultimate team in a 3-4-3 line-up. The final squad will primarily be decided by the 170 official Ballon d’Or judges, but fans’ votes will also be taken into account. So far, voting is open for eight of the eleven positions.
Up until now, three Hungarians have been nominated, but more are likely. József Bozsik, the backbone of Hungary’s Golden Team of the 1950s, is nominated as a defensive midfielder. There is a choice of two out of twenty in this category, including such players as Schuster, Tardelli, Falcao, Gerrard, Pirlo, and Xavi.
FactBetween 1950 and the team’s breakup due to the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, the Golden Team won 42 matches, reached a draw seven times, and lost only once at the 1954 World Cup final against Germany. They won the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, and defeated England 6:3 in the 1953 thriller later dubbed the “Match of the Century.”
There are two Hungarian nominees in the offensive midfielder category. László Kubala, considered by many to be one of the greatest players of all time, is a Barcelona legend. In 1999, during the club’s centenary celebrations and before Messi burst onto the scene, fans chose him as the greatest player ever to play for the ‘blaugrana.’ Kubala also played for other clubs, including Ferencváros, and three national teams; Hungary, Czechslovakia, and Spain.
Ferenc Puskás hardly needs an introduction. Also widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, he scored 514 goals in 529 matches during his career. He helped Real Madrid to five La Liga victories, being the league’s top scorer from 1960-1964, with three Champions League triumphs with the tournament’s highest number of goals in 1960 and 1964. He was the captain of the Golden Team and shot 84 goals for Hungary, holding the record for the most goals in a national team until Christiano Ronaldo overtook him in 2019. He is the only player ever to score a goal in the final of a World Cup (1954), Olympics (1952), Euro Cup (1953), Champion’s League (1960), and Intercontinental Cup (1960) as well.
Other nominees in the offensive midfielder category include Maradona, Di Stéfano, Zidane, Iniesta, Rivera, and Totti. Once again, there is a choice of two out of twenty in the poll.
Going forward, one Hungarian player we are likely to see among the nominees for one of the remaining three positions, according to Nemzeti Sport Online, is Flórián Albert, winner of the 1967 Ballon d’Or.
Featured photo by Tibor Erky-Nagy/Fortepan