The U-17 team of Puskás Academy once again lost in the final of the Puskás-Suzuki Cup, a tournament held annually for the under-17 age level in Felcsút. Belgian KRC Genk’s youth squad was crowned winner of the tournament’s 11th iteration following a 3-1 victory in front of 3000 spectators on Monday.
The tournament, founded in 2008, has without doubt grown in prestige over the years, and now attracts world-class clubs’ junior teams from Australia to Brazil. Beside the hosts, its first edition involved the U-17 teams of Hungarian legend Ferenc Puskás‘ former clubs, thus Real Madrid’s La Fábrica academy, Greek side Panathinaikos and Hungarian Budapest Honvéd. The number of the participants soon increased to six, while 2018 saw eight teams participate for the first time. In the past, among others, Alvaro Morata and Daniel Carvajal made appearances in the tournament.
This year, surprisingly, the most successful club in the tournament’s history, Budapest Honvéd, finished last with Panathinaikos winning the game for the 7th place on penalties. Real Madrid beat first-time participant Bayern München for the 5th place, while Brazilian Flamengo came 3rd after a tight victory over Sporting CP of Portugal. This was the fifth time the hosts qualified into the final, beating, for example Bayern München and Flamengo in the group phase; to date, however, they have been unable to bring the championship cup home.
Tournament’s top scorer, cup-winner KRC Genk’s András Németh (second from the left) has Hungarian roots, and claimed after the final that he would choose the Hungarian national team. Photo: Döme László Balázs/pfla.hu
Puskás Academy was founded by Viktor Orbán in his home village Felcsút in 2005; according to critics, it symbolizes Orbán’s football obsession. The club’s home ground, the award-winning Pancho Arena (in Spain, Pancho was Puskás’s nickname), designed by probably the most famous Hungarian architect, Imre Makovecz, is practically steps away from Orbán’s house. The club derives its name from Ferenc Puskás, for which the club is often criticized as well, as Ferenc Puskás’ motherclub was Budapest Honvéd, and the legendary footballer himself had nothing to do with Felcsút. And although it is an academy, instead of playing homegrown or young talented Hungarian players, the core of the senior squad (who were not those playing in the tournament) consists of older Hungarian or foreign players.
via 24.hu, guardian, nso, magyaridok
featured image via Puskás Akadémia