Biography of Ladislao Kubala Steck (1927-2002)

Spanish footballer of Hungarian origin, born in Budapest on June 10, 1927 and died in Barcelona on May 17, 2002. He/She was one of the most emblematic players of the Decade of the fifties of the 20th century and the only player in the world who, throughout his career, defended the colors of three national teams; Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Spain.

Kubala began practicing soccer at the school of the Hungarian Federation, where he/she stayed for two seasons until in 1939 he/she joined the ranks of the Ganz, his country's third Division team. In 1944 he/she debuted already at first with the Ferencváros and just completed 17 years, was summoned by the national team coach to compete against Austria in their first match as international. In 1945 he/she joined the Czechoslovak Bratislava although he/she again returned to Hungary to sign contract with his former club, Ferencváros, now renamed Vasas. Over three seasons, it was international player of the selection of Czechoslovakia on eleven occasions and the Hungarian national team in six.

In 1948, he/she left his native country and settled in Zurich, where it maintained contacts with the Torino, although the Italian club changed economic conditions at the last minute and thwarted the signing. He/She then traveled to Rome and, together with Polish refugees, Yugoslavians, Romanians and Hungarians, formed part of a team of exiles, the Hungaria, which performed exhibitions throughout Europe.

In April 1951 he/she came to Spain and joined the FC Barcelona, thanks to the mediation of Samitier. After two years in the country he/she managed to change their status as stateless by the Spanish citizenship and become one of the most valued by the team culé fans. Since his debut with the t-shirt blaugrana on April 29, 1951 against Sevilla in Cup match, Kubala was Barça player during a long decade in which played more than 300 matches and scored almost 250 goals. His record with the catalan club includes four league titles (1952, 1953, 1959, 1960), two glasses of fair (1958, 1960), five cups of the Generalissimo (1951, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1959), two Cup Eva Duarte and a Latin Cup. In the year of his retirement, 1961, came to dispute the final of the European Cup against Benfica, but the Portuguese team was who won the title.

With the selection Spanish national debuted on July 5, 1953, in a match against the Argentine combined and was international player in nineteen more times, the last one against France, on April 2, 1961. In total, he/she scored ten goals with national shirt.

After his retirement as a player, he/she continued linked to the technical equipment of the boat as director of the school's football players and coach of the first team in the 1962-1963 season. It then passed briefly by the bench of Murcia and the Spanish before traveling to Canada, where he/she signed contract as coach, first of the Falcon's Toronto (1965-1966) and after the Toronto City (1966-1967). In 1968 he/she returned to Spain to take charge of the Córdoba and, a year later, he/she was appointed coach of the Spanish national team; Office who served until 1980. Kubala was national coach in 68 games, 36 of them officers, and managed to sign a card of 31 wins, 21 draws and 16 defeats.

Between 1982 and 1986 he/she was trainer of the Al Hilal's Riad (Saudi Arabia), and his return to Spain was "mister" consecutively Real Murcia, Malaga and Alicante Elche. In 1990, he/she was elected President of the Association of former players of FC Barcelona and in 1991 he/she was appointed assistant coach of the Spanish Olympic team, led by Vicente Miera, who won the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona games. Spanish soccer paid him tribute on April 24, 1993, in the stadium of Montjuïc in Barcelona, with a party that contested the selection of Catalonia and a combined international.

In 1995 he/she was hired by the Paraguayan Federation as technical director of his national team in order to prepare the 1998 World Cup qualifiers but resigned and returned to Spain. Awarded the Knight's cross of the Royal order of Isabel la Católica (1962), the Gold Medal of the city of Barcelona to the sports merit (1999), the Grand Cross of the Royal order of the sports (2000) and the gold medal for merit in work (2002), among other distinctions, the magazine World Soccer included him in the list of the 100 best players in the world in 1999. Posthumously, FIFA granted him the order of merit and the Spanish Government the gold medal for merit in work.