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Kubala celebrating one of his many goals for Barça / ARXIU-FCB

László Kubala was a much-adored figure to the FC Barcelona faithful in the 1950s and goes down as one of the best players in the history of football.

Born in Budapest (Hungary) on 10 July 1927, Kubala fled his country of birth in 1948 to settle in Rome. He signed for Pro Patria in Italy, where he played some friendly matches in 1948/49 but was then hit with a FIFA sanction at the request of the Hungarian Federation, which meant he could not play in any official match with the team. In response, along with other refugee footballers from Eastern countries, he founded a team called Hungaria and toured the West.

Once he arrived in Spain, the then technical secretary of FC Barcelona Josep Samitier saw Kubala and was amazed by his abilities. Samitier did not rest until he signed his man, and eventually did so on 15 June 1950.

Debut against Osasuna

Due to bureaucratic obstacles imposed by the Hungarian Federation, Kubala could only feature in friendly matches in the beginning. On 12 October 1950, he made his debut against Osasuna at Les Corts in front of a crowd of 48,000 spectators. Barça sailed to a 4-0 win against Osasuna and Kubala got his name on the scoresheet.

Historic epoch

Finally, after months of waiting, Kubala was allowed to make his official debut for Barça in April 1951, which marked the beginning of a historic epoch for the Catalan club. Kubala formed part of a deadly front line along with Basora, César, Moreno and Manchón as the club won five trophies between 1951-53.

He retired in 1961 after racking up 345 appearances and 271 goals for the club plus a fair amount of silverware including four league titles, one Latin Cup, two Fairs Cups, five Spanish Cups and two Eva Duarte Cups. He returned to the club as manager between 1961-63 and 1980 but did not have much success.

Immortal record

Kubala died in Barcelona on 17 May 2002. On 24 September 2009, a statue of the Barça legend was erected in the forecourt of the Camp Nou, making his legacy immortal.

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