Football history is littered with stories of exceptional teams that defined a whole era with their qualities. Some teams were renowned for their innovative tactics like Budapest Honved of Hungary, while others were renowned for their impressive trophy hauls like Liverpool during the 1970s and 80s and Ajax Amsterdam of 1970s etc. Then there were some who wowed the world football with their exquisite football like AC Milan of the early 1990s. However, when it comes to combining all the elements that comprise a great team and to top it with utter dominance in every competition they participate in, there is little competition to Alfredo Di Stefano’s Real Madrid side of the late 1950s and early 60s.
Perhaps the record that most emphasises Di Stefano’s side’s place in the pantheon of football’s greatest club sides is the fact that they won five consecutive European Cups, such was their dominance over their European counterparts.
Di Stefano’s side set many records. One of the most notable members of the side was the Hungary international, the prolific marksman, Ferenc Puskas. And the Mighty Magyar was a player for the biggest of stages as he proved during two particular European Cup finals. Puskas remains the only man to have scored four goals in a European Cup final, a feat he achieved in the 1960 final at Hampden Park against Eintracht Frankfurt as he netted one goal in the first half and three more in the second to hand a humbling 7-3 defeat to the Germans. Puskas also scored a hat-trick in the 1962 final against Benfica – albeit in a losing cause – and thereby remains the only player with two hat-tricks in the final of the European Cup.
While the spotlight remained firmly on the more illustrious members of Los Blancos, they had a formidable winger in Francisco Gento, who went on to win six European Cups, still the only player to do so.
Di Stefano, who went on to represent Argentina, Colombia as well as Spain at the international level, ended his European Cup campaign with 49 goals, a record haul then.
Puskas, who played a stellar role in helping the Mighty Magyar reach the final of the 1954 World Cup, holds the record for most goals in a Copa del Rey campaign with 14 in the 1960/61 season.