It may come as a surprise that central Melbourne, Australia is home to a memorial statue dedicated to the life of one of Hungary’s greatest sports stars. But Ferenc Puskás is widely regarded as one of the best footballers of all time and this statue unveiled on February 4, 2017, pays tribute to a highly decorated career.
Born in April 1927, Puskás had a quite phenomenal goalscoring record and his club career saw him break many records for his 2 clubs, Budapest Honvéd and Real Madrid. With 514 goals in 529 in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues, he made quite an impact on European football. It was also on the international football scene that Puskás cemented his place among the best in the game, by scoring a total of 84 goals in 85 international matches for his native Hungary.
After his playing career came to an end, Puskás continued to make an impact in football by coaching and managing teams in many countries across the world, including Canada, Greece, Spain, Paraguay and Australia. His biggest achievement as manager was taking Greek side Panathinaikos to the European Cup Final in 1971, the only time a club from Greece has achieved such a feat.
This statue beside AAMI Park acknowledges his contributions to Australian football; a period of management which came towards the end of his long and illustrious footballing career. Puskás managed South Melbourne Hellas (now named South Melbourne FC) from 1989 to 1992 and it was in this management spell that he won the National Soccer League title in 1991. The memorial statue was presented to the people of Victoria by the Government of Hungary in 2017 and passers-by can learn the history of this sporting great.
Know Before You Go
The Puskás statue is somewhat hidden away in the shadows of the AAMI Park. There are many other statues to sporting heroes in the area and if you take a walk around the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground you will find a series of similar bronze tributes.