The most prolific goalscorer in international history, Ferenc Puskas was the leading light of a dazzling Hungarian team that illuminated world football throughout the early 1950s.
When Puskas' international career came to an abrupt end in the wake of the 1956 Hungary uprising, he had accumulated 84 goals in 85 international appearances, a world record that remains to this day.
During an invincible six-year spell from 1950-56, Puskas captained Hungary to a remarkable sequence of results, losing only one match.
Unfortunately for Puskas, the sole blemish was in the most important game of all, namely the 1954 World Cup final.
West Germany's 3-2 win over the Hungarians in Switzerland was typical of Puskas' record in the World Cup. Despite being one of the finest players of his generation, he never fulfilled his potential at the tournament.
Born in 1927, Puskas began his career in 1943 with Budapest side Kispest, where his father coached. Later the club was nationalised by communist authorities and transformed into the army side Honved, a development which gave rise to Puskas' nickname of the 'Galloping Major'.
Physically, Puskas was an unusual-looking footballer. But though squat, stocky and at times rather paunchy, he excelled on the pitch and soon emerged as one of Hungarian football's brightest talents.
Given an international call-up in 1945, Puskas scored the first of his international goals on his debut in a 5-2 win over Austria.
The post-war years saw the emergence of Hungary's fabled 'Golden Squad', which became the dominant force in world football during the first half of the 1950s.
In 1953, Puskas led Hungary to a 6-3 rout of England at Wembley, becoming the first team from outside Britain to beat the English at home. Just for good measure, the 'Magical Magyars' won a return game in Budapest 7-1 in May 1954.
The wins over England and others like them left Hungary as the overwhelming favourites for the 1954 World Cup.
All seemed to be going to plan as Hungary waltzed past South Korea 9-0 and West Germany 8-3 in their opening round matches.
Puskas missed the quarter-finals and semi-finals through injury but returned for the final in Berne, persuading management to let him play though not fully fit. It proved to be a mistake.
Though Puskas scored the first as Hungary went into a 2-0 lead, he was clearly struggling, and Germany battled their way back into the match to record a famous 3-2 upset.
The World Cup defeat was the beginning of the end for Puskas' career with Hungary. Refusing to return to the country after the 1956 rebellion was crushed by the Soviet Union, Puskas's career hit a low.
He was banned by FIFA for 18 months, before arriving in Spain at Real Madrid in 1958, overweight and his career in tatters. However, he was to form a deadly partnership with Alfredo Di Stefano in a golden era for Real.
His four-goal performance in the 1960 European Cup final against Eintracht Frankfurt, won by Real 7-3, has passed into football folklore.
During his reign in Spain Puskas was top scorer four times in the league, as Real netted six domestic trophies and three European Cups.
He represented Spain unsuccessfully at the 1962 World Cup, failing to score in three appearances. He continued to play with Real until his retirement in 1967 before embarking upon a coaching career, the highlight of which came in 1971 when he led Panathinaikos to the European Cup final.
Puskas died in November 2006 at the age of 79. After a full state funeral he was laid to rest in Budapest's St Stephen's Basilica.