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Puskás, Kubala, Kocsis and Czibor together again in Barcelona
01 Jan. 2019.
The opening ceremony of a grand exhibition to commemorate the golden age of Hungarian football, the Golden Team and the Spanish successes of Ferenc Puskás, László Kubala, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor, was held at the Catalan Physical Education University (INEFC) recently in Barcelona.
"It is an honour for INEFC and the Catalan Government to host this exhibition in this institution," said Gerard Figueras, General Secretary for Sport of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia, in his welcoming speech. He stressed that FC Barcelona and Catalan sport were fortunate to have had three Hungarian greats – Kubala, Kocsis and Czibor – who were epoch-makers and who also played a key role in increasing the support-base of Barça, amongst their ranks.
The ceremony was held in the presence of 200 invited guests, video footage of the greatest moments of the Golden Team providing a background to the speeches.
Highlights of The Match of the Century, played exactly 65 years before – when Hungary defeated England 6-3 at Wembley Stadium, the first time England had been defeated at home by a team from the continent – were shown.
"I am convinced that the Hungarian people possess a love of football in their blood and their genes, and this enthusiasm is greatly due to Ferenc Puskás, László Kubala, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor," said Tamás Menczer, Minister of State for Communication and Hungary’s International Image, to MTI via telephone prior to the ceremony.
According to a politician representing Hungary at the event, when the four players were on the pitch "we taught the world to play football" and although by now the situation has changed, "we are waiting for the next time that we will have a Kubala, a Czibor, a Kocsis or a Puskás".
He recalled that three of them were FC Barcelona's "geniuses", while Puskás was Real Madrid’s, who, despite the perpetual rivalry of the two Spanish teams, took to the field in a blue and red Barcelona shirt for Kubala’s farewell match.
"This is such a great moment that only sport is capable of producing, because these although these people competed against each other, they were friends, they got on well," he said.
Tamás Menczer stressed that “a nation can only be strong and successful if it remembers its heroes in a fitting manner, and the four of them were heroes on the football pitch. I’m delighted that we can tend to their memory together with our Barcelona friends” he added.
"There is a statue of Puskás in Madrid, and one of Kubala in Barcelona. These two lads from Budapest became the heroes of their era at their respective clubs – perhaps the two most influential and popular football clubs” said György Szöllősi, Ambassador of Hungarian Football Tradition, who in his speech also said that the two legendary players were also admired and respected due to their renowned helpfulness and sincerity.
Szöllősi György mond beszédet a meghívottaknak
"We have a duty to our late descendants, to follow the great example they have shown, in strengthening the solidarity between Hungarians living in the world and the positive message of football across all social and political borders," he added, adding that they are firmly resolved to have statues of Zoltán Czibor and Sándor Kocsis erected in Barcelona in the future.
The exhibition on the golden age of Hungarian football was compiled by the Puskás Institute, the collection of hundreds of pieces filling a total of twenty glass cabinets in the Barcelona exhibition space.
Among the medals, cups, trophies, contemporary newspaper articles, photographs, and relics, real treasures include László Kubala’s refugee passport, the boots Puskás wore in the 1972 Olympic final, and the gold medal won by Sándor Kocsis in that match.
The exhibition, which runs until December 15, was created thanks to the support of the Puskás Institute, FC Barcelona, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hungarian Consulate General in Barcelona and the Béla Nagy Programme of the Hungarian Sport Journalists’ Association.
Puskás Ferenc unokái Madridból