‘Sandor Kocsis’ is a name that isn’t exactly doing the rounds within modern footballing circles or the latest gossip-induced discussion columns surrounding the beautiful game.
In fact, whilst several of his peers received widespread celebration in light of their burgeoning achievements on the international stage, his is a name that few may have ever even heard of – let alone recollect watching back in the 1950s when the ‘Mighty Magyars’ of Hungary were seemingly set on claiming the footballing world as their own.
Kocsis may have admittedly represented something of an idolised cult hero among Hungarian football and the passionate Barcelona faithful, he may have indeed developed a sense of national hero status on the back of his incredible goalscoring record – but compared with the great Ferenc Puskas and all that the famed Real Madrid legend managed to achieve upon the European scene – this is one player who clearly seems to lack notable mainstream praise, and quite unfairly, too.
Although the deadly-eyed Hungarian frontman isn’t the first big name player whose once unyielding reputation has sadly failed to stand the often cruel test of time, football fans far and wide should definitely sit up and pay attention when they hear the name ‘Sandor Kocsis’ mentioned – for his was a career that arguably served to defined the art of the perfect finisher.
A career that to this very day remains tragically undervalued and harshly overlooked within the beautiful game we all know and love…
The ‘Mighty Magyars’ of Hungary represented a team of gifted record-breakers whose collective achievements are yet to be eclipsed within the modern era. They must arguably go down in the annals of footballing history as the greatest national side to fail to claim World Cup glory, losing out narrowly to the West Germans among the 1954 World Cup final in Switzerland.
Their star player was, of course, Ferenc Puskas – his nation’s all-time leading goal-scorer and one of Hungary’s most time-honoured sons, yet Kocsis enjoyed a playing style that was ultimately very different to that of his notorious captain.
In stark contrast with Puskas, who certainly served to dazzle his respective onlookers with a range of tantalizingly brilliant manoeuvres inside the final third, Sandor Kocsis became known affectionately as ‘the man with the golden head’. As a result of his dependable heading ability anywhere inside the opposition’s penalty-box, the no-nonsense Hungarian struck an overwhelming chord with all those who were lucky enough to witness his renowned goal-scoring prowess in action.
The word ‘clinical’ is most commonly associated with Kocsis and his remarkable finishing ability in one-on-one situations. He portrayed himself as a traditional centre-forward, one who could easily get the job done without relying upon spectacular new wave techniques that no one had visibly seen before. Unlike Puskas, who seemingly thrived out there with the limelight firmly thrust upon him, the composed Hungarian striker supposedly represented much more of a reserved individual.
Kocsis was forever composed, frequently going about his business as if nothing less was ever expected of him. Although he never once amounted a single World Cup trophy or European Championship to his name, the accomplished frontman ended his career with 75 goals scored in 68 international appearances for Hungary – achieving an outrageous goal-to-game ratio that remains largely unparalleled.
After proving a breakout sensation within his native homeland, opting to join the Swiss top-flight on the brink of the Hungarian revolution and subsequently winding up wowing the Nou Camp faithful with an eventful final spell amid the lofty heights of Barcelona, Sandor Kocsis wholeheartedly proved himself to be more than just your average centre-forward.
Modern comparisons could see Sandor Kocsis line up somewhere alongside either Dennis Bergkamp or Dimitar Berbatov in terms of the overall style and spirit of each individual player. He had all the composure necessary for great finishing, with his outwardly cool and unflustered personality rising to the forefront on almost each and every occasion.
Yet via his powerful stature and the remarkably potent goal-scoring consistency displayed throughout his long-spanning career, perhaps someone of Alan Shearer’s ilk may prove equally comparable. Both broke records as a result of their undeniable shooting ability, but only one has since received his due recognition as one of the most deadly top-flight goal-scorers to ever walk the planet.
In the end, we must simply accept that not all once highly revered reputations are destined to stand alone for the rest of eternity. Although this 1954 World Cup Golden Boot winner may deserve greater accolade in light of everything he achieved with the ‘Mighty Magyars’ upon the grand international stage, it seems as if Sandor Kocsis is ultimately just another player to regress further into the shadows whilst his like-minded contemporaries continue to receive mounting praise and wild applaud.
With the light of Ferenc Puskas continuing to shine brightly throughout subsequent generations of emerging football fans and enthralled World Cup onlookers, Sandor Kocsis’ reputation may never rise up and achieve the legendary status it so desperately deserves. No one said football was meant to be fair…