LEGENDARY soccer player suffers from Alzheimer's disease, tabloid says

Tuesday, May 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ Ferenc Puskas, one of the best soccer players in history, is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and needs constant attending to, a tabloid said Tuesday.

According to the daily Blikk, Puskas, 74, has been in the hospital since last September and was not released over the weekend when his daughter, Aniko, came to visit from San Sebastian, Spain. Family members have asked the hospital not to comment on Puskas' condition.

Puskas was last reported to have left hospital in April, when he attended a soccer game at the venue of his old successes, the Kispest Stadium.

He was striker of the legendary Golden Team of Hungarian soccer, beating the English 6-3 in 1954, in an encounter often called the ``match of the century.''

He left Hungary during the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution, joining Spanish giants Real Madrid, but returned to Hungary in the 1990s.

As a coach, Puskas led Greek team Panathinaikos Athens to the European Cup final in 1971, where his team lost to Ajax Amsterdam 2-0 at Wembley Stadium in London.

He turns 75 next April 2. According to preliminary plans, the Spanish national team will be playing a friendly match in Budapest to mark his birthday.