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The Hungarian, Ladislao Kubala, an eternal icon for FC Barcelona, wore the Barça shirt from 1950 until the end of the 1960-61 campaign. The technical secretary, Josep Samitier, signed him on June 15, 1950, just after a friendly played in Sarrià against Espanyol, and when Kubala was looking for shelter and fortune on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
Kubala was an outstanding striker, with great physical attributes. By way of example, the circumference of his thighs was 67 centimetres and he displayed a technique never before seen at Barça.
As a fugitive, Kubala was slow to debut and was unable to do so, as a nationalised Spanish citizen, until the 1951 Copa del Rey. Barça, led by his brother-in-law Ferdinand Daucik, became an unbeatable machine with the Hungarian in the side. His team-mates saw him as the natural leader of the team, and César Rodríguez would become, without exaggeration, his older brother and friend. Barça experienced two excellent seasons until 1953, when it won almost every competition available.
Throughout the 1950s, Kubala became the most famous man in Catalonia, a phenomenon today almost unintelligible to new generations, incomparable even with the popularity that Leo Messi enjoys. People dedicated tunes and famous songs to him, such as La Raspa: "La raspa was invented / Kubala with a ball / Kubala passes César / And César shoots on goal," whilst children recited popular rhymes about him.
He even acted in a movie entitled "Donkeys looking for peace," which was an exaggerated biography of his escape from Hungary and triumph in Barcelona at that time. He died in 2002 and on the day of La Mercè in 2009 a statue of him was placed on the esplanade of the Camp Nou.
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