From: gaborzinho 
Subject: Re: Ladislav Kubala
Date: 18 January 2002 04:26

In article , soccer-europe 

>> From : Manolo Benet 
>> Subject : Ladislav Kubala
>>Maradona was a Barcelona reject. Think about that.
> Kubala played for two Serie A clubs. He left Milan after winning a
> championship and was never mentioned as one of the great Milan players.
> Maradona was at Barca for 5 minutes but is considered among the top
> three Barca players of all time.

Well, I just had to chime in.

Laszlo (as it is on his birth certificate) Kubala was born in Budapest, on
June 10, 1927. His parents were from, what was by then part of,
Czechoslovakia (Bratislava or Pozsony). His father was Polish-Slovakian, his
mother Hungarian-Slovakian. Not that it matters, as it never mattered to
"Kuksi", as he was called from early childhood. He once said, when pressed
for declaring his nationality: "I am a citizen of the world."
His first team was a poor factory-sponsored team: Ganz TE, where he played
as an 11-year-old among 14-16-year-olds. When he turned 18 Ferencváros
signed him. (I was playing with my youth team against Ferencvaros as a
preliminary match on Christmas Day 1945, and ended up staying afterwards to
watch the Ferencvaros - Vasas match. Kuksi scored 2 goals in a 4-1 win, that
was the first time I met him.) Next year he received his draft notice. He
escaped to Czechoslovakia, and signed with SK Bratislava. He played for the
Czech national team 6 times, scoring 4 goals. Then he received his draft
notice there too, so back to Hungary he went. By then Ferencvaros was
labeled a "fascist" team by the communists and were under all kinds of
restrictions. So Kuksi signed with Vasas. While there, he played for
Hungary's national team 3 times. When the communists consolidated their
power and took over the government, he paid some smugglers to take him to
Italy. There he and some other players formed a team called Hungaria and
played exhibition matches. The team was comprised of Hungarians who were
living in the areas that were reunited with pre-war countries, Transylvania,
Carpatho-Ukraine, Southern Slovakia, Vojvodina, etc. They beat Real Madrid
4-2 in Madrid, beat the Spanish national team that was preparing for the
1950 WC, and Espanyol. That was the best match Kuksi played, and observers
from Barcelona were in the stands. So they offered him a contract, which he
signed on June 15, 1950.

Sorry guys, he never played for AC Milan, or any other Italian team. He had
a pre-contract with Pro Patria, that is all. The way that came about was
that the President of Pro Patria bet him a gold watch, that he (Kuksi)
cannot joggle the ball all the way around the pitch. Of course, Kuksi won
the bet and he was offered a contract, too. Inter and Torino also wanted to
sign him. He agreed to guest-play for Torino at a frindly in Lisboa. Just
before he was to board the plane, his wife and child arrived from Hungary.
His son was very ill, so Kuksi backed out of the trip (he's my man, family
first!). On the return flight Torino's plane crashed killing everyone on
board, includig one of Kuksi's best friends Gyula Schubert. As a footnote,
the reason for the crash was, that the players smuggled gold from Portugal
to Italy, as in Portugal it was much-much cheaper at that time. In order to
avoid having to go through customs, they set up a drop at Superga, where
accomplices were waiting on the ground. The plane descended too low and
crashed. Kuksi remained a Barcelona player until 1963 and played for Spain
19 times. He then was player-coach for RCD Espanyol, FC Zürich, then finally
for the Toronto Falcons, from where he retired in 1968.
During the days of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when several Hungarian
football teams were touring abroad, Kuksi was the go-between. It was him who
recommended no less than four Hungarian players to Barcelona (Kocsis and
Czibor from Honved, both of which previously played with Kuksi at
Ferencvaros, Kaszas and Szalay from Hungary's U-21 team.) He was also the
person who delivered Real Madrid's offer to Lajos Tichy for 200 kgs of gold,
an offer Tichy turned down. His accomplishment are more or less correctly
listed on the various websites given. One thing stands out. In 1953 England
had a gala match against the Rest of Europe. No less than 7 Hungarian
players were selected. Hungary declined to participate, since they had a
match against England about a month later, and they wanted to be the first
continental team to beat them at Wembley. It is unlikely, that Kuksi would
have gotten much playing time had Kocsis played, but this way he did. And he
scored two goals. Europe was leading 4-3, England equalized in the last
minute, so Hungary did in fact become the first.

Kuksi never played in a WC. In 1962 he played in some of the qualifiers, but
both he and DiStefano got hurt just before the finals. So, despite making
the trip to Chile, neither of them saw one minute of playing time. In 1999,
at Barcelona's 100th anniversary, he was voted by the fans as the all-time
best player, ahead of Cruyff and Maradona. He was also selected by sport
journalist as the second best player in Spain during the 20th Century,
behind DiStefano. He was also awarded the Grand Cross of Sports by the
government of Spain.

Couple of corrections. One of the websites states that Czibor once played
for AS Roma. Plus it states that he was a defender. Not true! He signed a
contract, which was nullified by the ban, or rather limit, on foreign
players just a few days later. It is quite a story, but Czibor got a $10.000
compensation, plus AS Roma paid his back rent on the villa he and his family
were living in. And he was, of course, a brilliant left wing. Born Aug. 23,
1929 in Komarom, BTW. Died there on Sep. 1, 1997.) Another website lists Kocsis' 
stats for Kuksi, Hungarian scoring champion. WC best scorer, etc.


From: gaborzinho 
Subject: Re: Ladislav Kubala
Date: 18 January 2002 23:27

In article <1Var1HAZF$>, soccer-europe 

> According to this website he played for Milan :
> See what else they got wrong!
Well, let's see!

1. I mentioned this in another post in connection with Kispest Honved, but
there is no such team as Ferencvaros Budapest (or Bufapest ;-). The name of
the team is Ferencvaros Torna Club, FTC, or Fradi. Minor error. (Vasas
Budapest IS correct, even though until 1949 the were called Vasas Sport
2. Pro Patria - he never played for this team.
3. He signed with Barcelona in 1950, never played for AC Milan. As far as I
know, he never even talked to them.
4. He played for Barcelona until 1963.
5. Obviously the next paragraph is incorrect in its entirety, as it pertains
to Sandor Kocsis, not to Kubala.
6. Coaching career:
Barcelona (technical director 1963--64, head coach 1964)
RCD Espanyol (player-coach 1964--65)
FC Zürich (player-coach 1966--67)
Toronto Falcons (player-coach 1967--68)
FC Córdoba (head coach1968--69)
Spain (head coach 1969--80)
Barcelona (head coach 1980, coach of youth team, then director of youth
development 1981--82)
al-Hilal (head coach 1982--86)
CF Murcia (head coach 1986--87)
FC Málaga (head coach 1987--89)
Spanish Olympic team(head coach 1991--92)
Paraguay (head coach 1995).

As far as I know he never coached the Saudi Arabian Olympic team.

>>first!). On the return flight Torino's plane crashed killing everyone on
>>board, includig one of Kuksi's best friends Gyula Schubert. As a footnote,
>>the reason for the crash was, that the players smuggled gold from Portugal
>>to Italy, as in Portugal it was much-much cheaper at that time. In order to
>>avoid having to go through customs, they set up a drop at Superga, where
>>accomplices were waiting on the ground. The plane descended too low and
> Are you sure? It's the first time I heard about the gold smuggling.

I was not there, so obviously I don't know it first hand. My recollection is
that Kuksi told me that, who was also in on the deal. I tried to call him
this morning in Barcelona, but could not get him, as he is in Budapest right
now. In 1984 I was interviewed by a Hungarian writer for a book he was
writing on Puskas. We were waiting for Puskas in a hotel lobby with another
player Bela Egresi (he died a few years ago), who was also an ex-Kispest
player. He was with Torino at the time of the accident, but was not under
contract, so he did not make the fatal trip. He was also talking about this
matter, as he gave money to Gyula Schubert to make a purchase on his behalf.
Again, I remembered gold. But I finally called this writer guy after I
couldn't get Kuksi, and with my luck he answered the phone at his apartment.
He looked it up in his notes. I was wrong! It was DIAMONDS, not GOLD! Mea

I went through all this just for you and for the sake of accurate
reporting!!!! Beyond this I cannot confirm the accuracy of the story, but I
have no reason to believe that either Kuksi or Csopi would make this up.


From: gaborzinho 
Subject: Re: The real cause of the Superga crash (was: Re: Ladislav Kubala)
Date: 19 January 2002 17:00

In article , "Futbolmetrix" 

>soccer-europe wrote:
>> I believe you it's just that I never heard anything about smuggling in
>> the various reports on the disaster I have read over the years so was
>> stunned when you mentioned it. It's a tragedy that these players died as
>> a result of greed, a real tragedy.
> This could very well be just another rumour you heard on the internet,
> but I also have no reason to believe Gaborzinho would be making this up.
> Other than this, I can understand how none of this ever came up in all
> the reports about the Superga crash. The great Torino team has become
> an icon in Italy, some sort of national symbol that you do  not want to
> throw
> mud upon. Together with Fausto Coppi, they are generally considered as
> something that gave a ray of hope in the difficult years of post-war
> reconstruction.
> So even if some reporter did catch hold of this story, he probably would
> have
> just said: "well, this one I'll just pretend I didn't hear it".
> Daniele

Like I said, I just heard it from others, not a rumor I heard on the
Internet. Knowing my sources, I have no reason to believe they had any
reason for not telling the truth.

But I would not attribute this to greed. Back in those days it was common
for certain teams to provide some form of bonus to players in lieu of cash.
After the war it was not unusual for big city teams to play exhibition
matches against provincial teams. Then after the match they stayed for
dinner and received food items as gifts. Food was in scarce supply in big
cities then, so a stick of salami, a slab of bacon, eggs, cheese, etc. were
valuable commodities. Don't put this in the perspective of today's
multimillionaire players. These were called "bread-and-butter" tours. Many
Spanish, Italian teams toured South America for similar reasons (instead,
say, England or Germany), where they could make purchases which then could
be sold at a profit back home, leather goods, jewelry, etc. In Western
Europe the economic incentives quickly disappeared due to the reconstruction
and by the early 50-s this was not a factor, with two exceptions: cigarettes
and booze. It was not uncommon to see players load up on these items so they
can either sell them, or use them as gifts back home. Nowadays it is the
electronics. You should have seen the players of Brasil after the WC of
1994, when they organized a shopping spree just prior to returning home.
Before the WC of 1986 Bora moved all of Mexico's exhibition matches to the
LA Coliseum. In the morning of the matches, Mexican players, most even
wearing team warm-ups, were prowling LA's electronic shopping district to
make purchases.

In places such as Hungary, this was much more important, as the standard of
living was much lower. Plus the communist idealogy did not tolerate
"professional" sports. So players were encouraged to bring in desirable
items to supplement their income, they were promised no customs inspection
upon returning. At one time even Hungary's president of the FA was the head
of customs, who could order or rescind exceptions at will. Some of these
players had a staff to handle resales, as they did not have the time to
peddle their goods. At one time Puskas complained to a high official, and
told him that if they raise their salaries (in the phony jobs they had) to
such-and-such, the smuggling would stop. This official responded, what would
then the miners and the industrial workers say. In other words, he could not
make an exception to the communist priciple of equality. So the smuggling
continued. There was this joke around the Honved clubhouse, when people said
the day before the team's bus was due to arrive back, that they already
heard the bus because it was clicking so loud. (Swiss watches were hot
items.) Or the swishing noise of the nylon stockings, or whatever was
lucrative at the moment.

On a more serious note, players were often requested to bring in items such
as spare parts to machines. As it was officially "no shortage" of these
items, the government would have lost face, had they tried to go through
official channels. I heard that Hidegkuti, whose mother worked in a weaving
mill, once brought in two large suitcases full of some special needles. The
suitcases were so heavy, nobody could lift them. But at the train terminal
there were half a dozen people from the mill waiting for him already to
help. Hidegkuti then was given some kind of medal, like the "Hero of
Socialist Labor" or similar. Just for information, in the smuggling business
Lorant and Puskas were by far the best, with Czibor a close second. Kocsis
was by far the worst, he would get taken advantage of at both ends. The
others, while they had their moments, were somewhere in-between.
On another, even more serious note, players or staff who were observed to
step outside the guidelines while abroad, were set up by the AVH/KGB.
Grosics was actually banned from football for a year, and was kicked out of
Honved. Some others did prison time. I almost got screwed once, someone put
a banned item in my suitcase. I got lucky though, one of the players saw it
and told me. I removed the item and left it on the train. At customs they
turned my suitcase inside out and held me for over an hour, but came up with
nothing. Funny, I had two suitcases, but they only scrutinized the one the
stuff was supposed to be in. Obviously, they were acting under orders. I
hope the AVH man, whose responsibility it was to set this up, got severely

Besides the communist countries, smuggling was also somewhat tolerated in
Brasil, and I am sure, in other countries also. Players would carry coffee
and gemstones out and watches, electronics, porno movies in. I once posted
about old Galeco where people had to pass a long table during customs
inspections and place their suitcases on the table to be opened by the
officials. They would load soccer balls with watches, and while waiting in
line, they would pass the balls under the table to those already past the
inspection line. Goods confiscated were taken to the police station, if the
player had connections, they could reclaim them later. Or in the case of
less famous people, and I saw this done to Nelson Rockefeller, Sergio Mendez
and that triple-jumper fellow, a high ranking customs official, under orders
from higher ups, simply grabbed the suitcases and bypassed the line. (Of
course Rockefeller was not smuggling, just did not want to bother with the
line, Sergio Mendez and the tripple-jumper I am not sure.) After Brasil lost
WC final in 1998, they returned home via Miami. You can guess why. But they
were granted no favors at the customs, and many players openly complained
about it.

Summa summarum, don't be so harsh on those players, they have to be judged
based on contemporary standards, not those of today. And yes, that Torino
team was indeed great.