Hungarian and Real Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas, who is desperately ill in a Budapest hospital with a form of Alzheimer's disease, was forced to sell off his medals, including the golden boot he was awarded to commemorate his amazing international scoring record, at Bonhams, in London, to help pay for his treatment.
One of the world's greatest footballers sold his memorabilia for £85,000 at auction to help in his battle with terminal illness. The collection of Puskas memorabilia was bought privately, before it was due for sale at Bonhams Auction House in Chester
The collection will stay in Hungary and be an integral part of a Football Hall of Fame to be established in Budapest. The collection was bought by George Budna - a Hungarian millionaire who owns casinos in Las Vegas.
The Puskas family and Budna are past acquaintances. Last weekend, Budna spoke to Mrs Puskas and insisted that he wanted to return two items in the collection - a pocket watch and a ring - because they were "too personal" for him to keep.
The sale of Puskas memorabilia outside Hungary had precipitated a fierce debate there, with many observers insisting that the items should stay in the country, which the sale to Budna guarantees.
Mrs Puskas said: "Even if Pancho was well, he would have sold these things. We're not the first to do such a thing, and we will not be the last. Many footballers have sold their collections including Bobby Moore, Gordon Banks and Alan Ball."
Coming directly from Puskas, this outstanding collection will feature awards, trophies and gifts that he won, collected and treasured throughout his long and extraordinary career. It will be sold in Bonhams' Sporting Memorabilia Sale in Chester on 2 November.
In addition to the Adidas Golden Boot, which is estimated to fetch £1,000 – 1,500,
other trophies commemorating his achievements include:
Puskas worn shirt, Number 15,
April 1965, Stanley Matthews' testimonial game, Puskas was amongst the stars who expressed their skills to raise funds for Matthews in his benefit game. At the end of the game Matthews exchanged shirts with Puskas, who passed it on to the vender, the son of a friend who was a director of Port Vale F.C. and had arranged the specially designed and inscribed Staffordshire pottery tea set to present to the players. Matthews embroidered autograph to the badge.Estimate: £600 - 800
Puskas Match worn boots,
Olympic Games 1952, Helsinki, gold medal winners Hungary. Boots worn by Puskas in the final plus signed photograph of him receiving gold medal wearing the boots.Estimate: £600 - 800
Puskas training boots
pair of boots used by Puskas, a signed letter from Mrs Puskas along with photograph confirming the boots were used by her husband.Estimate: £300 - 500
Top Goal Scorer trophy, presented by the Hungarian Football association,
inscribed “World Record Holder of the Top Division Goals (511) Ferenc Puskas (Hungary and Spain) by IFFHS” Estimate £2,500 – 3,000
The 1954 World Cup Runners-up medal
awarded to Puskas after a nail-biting final in which Germany won 3-2, with a late goal by Puskas controversially disallowed to deny favourites Hungary a chance to maintain their four-year unbeaten record. Estimate £3,000 – 5,000
• 511 Goals Cup, presented by the press in Spain which reads “Pancho Puskas, Pichichi Del Siglo” – The Best in the World. Puskas was the leading top scorer for five consecutive years. Estimate £1,500 – 2,500
Also included are personal gifts and presentations such as a stunning silver model of the Bernabeu Stadium, 2002, given to Puskas on his 75th birthday by Real Madrid, (estimate £1,500 – 2,000), and a Brazil shirt sent by Pele and signed to the front: “To Puskas Happy Birthday do Amigo Edson Pele”. Estimate £1,000 – 1,500
The Ferenc Puskas Collection will be offered in the Bonhams Chester sale with other important items of sporting memorabilia, including the World Cup Final Winner's medal from 1950 presented to Uruguay's full back, Mataias Gonzalez, known as ‘the Lion’. Estimate £6,000 - 8,000
Puskas scored 83 goals in 84 games for his country and inspired Real Madrid to become the dominant force in Europe. He is rated by many as the finest player ever.
Ferenc Puskas, born in Budapest in 1927, made his debut as a 16-year old 'boy wonder' in his father's team, Kispest, and two years later he was playing for his country. Kispest was required by the authorities to become the official Hungarian Army team between 1948 and 1956, giving rise to Puskas’ affectionate nick-name 'the Galloping Major'. He also captained the Olympic Gold-winning side in 1952 - the team already dominating world football .
On the pitch, Puskas was a one-off. Short and stocky, he spearheaded a revolutionary attacking line-up with a fearful left-foot - a talent made all the more remarkable for his refusal to head the ball or use his right foot.
"Look at that that little fat chap. We'll murder the lot." was a comment that came back to haunt the England side in 1953. Hungary, with Puskas as captain, beat them 6-3 - they became the first foreign team ever to beat England at Wembley. The return match in Budapest provided even greater humiliation for England with Hungary winning 7-1.
Puskas was one of the most prolific goal-scorers of all time and he was snapped up by Real Madrid in 1958, despite being out of shape and at 31, no spring-chicken. He forged a remarkable partnership with fellow attacker Di Stefano and Puska remains the only player ever to score four goals in a European Cup Final. Whether he was playing for Hungary, Real Madrid, or latterly, Spain, his strike-rate was formidable.
Scrolling back through the decades, only one or two footballers stand out as truly great - Pelé, Moore, Maradona and Zidane have their place in the history books along with the Hungarian national hero Ferenc Puskas. With 0-0 scorelines being all too common these days, the exploits of the Galloping Major seem even more remarkable.