Already this year Hungarian football has mourned three of its leading footballing figures, following the deaths of Béla Várady, Dezső Novak and László Fekete.
Béla Várady was a striking great at Budapest outfit Vasas SC, scoring 174 times in 338 games. His most successful season came in 1976/77 when his 36 goals shot Vasas to the Hungarian league title and earned him the silver boot as European football's second-highest domestic top-flight scorer. He also won the Hungarian Cup twice, was an Olympic football silver medallist in 1972 and represented Hungary at the 1978 FIFA World Cup. His sad loss was announced on 23 January.
Dezső Novak's name will forever be associated with Hungary's biggest side Ferencvárosi TC, for whom he played 251 matches over 12 years, the defender having moved from provincial Szombathelyi Haladás in 1961. With the team from Budapest he lifted four league titles, one Hungarian Cup and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, still the only European trophy won by a Hungarian club.
On the international scene, Novak was present for most of Hungary's successes of the 1960s, claiming Olympic gold twice, Olympic bronze, and third place at the 1964 UEFA European Championship. Later, as a coach, he picked up three league championships with Ferencváros and led them to a UEFA Champions League group stage debut in 1995. He passed away on 26 February.
László Fekete's slight frame belied a larger-than-life character who was prolific in front of goal for the all-conquering Újpest FC (previously Újpest Dózsa) side of the 1970s, registering 136 goals in 233 games. The celebrated forward landed four league titles with the 'Lilák', the last of which arrived in 1978/79 when his 31 strikes secured him joint-ownership of the European silver boot. He was capped 21 times by Hungary, notching five goals, yet missed the 1978 World Cup through injury. He died on 4 March.
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