Profile The top scorer of the 1954 World Cup, Sándor Kocsis was one of the legendary ‘Mighty Magyars’ who dominated football in the early 1950s before surprisingly losing to West Germany in the 1954 World Cup final.
Born in 1929 as the son of a Budapest innkeeper, Kocsis joined Hungary’s most popular club, Ferencváros in 1946. He played his first matches for the club in the 1946/1947 season and, in 1948/1949, scored 33 goals in 30 matches to help his club to the Hungarian league title. At the beginning of that season, Kocsis made his debut for Hungary scoring twice in a 9-0 win against Romania.
In 1950, he and a few others from Ferencvaros, including Zoltan Czibor, were “persuaded” by the communist authorities to move to the Army club Honved where he won the league championship in three of the next seven seasons. He was the league’s top scorer in 1951, 1952 and 1954. His fellow striker in the Honved team, Ferenc Puskás was also one of his striking partners at international level and they are remembered as the two all-time top scorers for Hungary. Whilst Puskás scored more goals, Kocsis scored at a rate of more than one per match, ending his career with 75 in 68 internationals.
Kocsis, a brilliant ballplayer and superb header of the ball, was part of the Hungarian side which won the 1952 Olympic title and he top scored at the 1954 World Cup with 11 goals including two extra time goals in the dramatic semi-final against Uruguay which put his team in the final. He decided not to return to Hungary after the uprising in 1956 and went on to team up with compatriot Ladislao Kubala at CF Barcelona in Spain, where he won the Fairs Cup and two league titles. He retired in 1965, established a cement business in Barcelona but also went into coaching. Later he was later diagnosed with leukaemia and stomach cancer. He died from a fall from the fourth floor of a Barcelona hospital on 22 July 1979, allegedly committing suicide.