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'Black Panther' Grosics dies aged 88

The goalkeeper in the great Hungary side of the 1950s who revolutionised world football, and a four-time national title winner, Gyula Grosics has died at the age of 88.

Gyula Grosics (in black) lines up with Hungary in the early 1950s
Gyula Grosics (in black) lines up with Hungary in the early 1950s ©Getty Images

Gyula Grosics, the goalkeeper in the great Hungary side of the 1950s, has died at the age of 88.

The 'Black Panther' (Fekete Párduc in Hungarian) was a gold medallist at the 1952 Olympic Games and featured in the 1954, 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cup final tournaments, making 86 appearances for the Magical Magyars, who included the likes of Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor and Joszef Bozsik. Grosics's distribution skills made him an essential feature of that attack-minded team.

"Besides his football career, he was a very gentle, friendly and amiable person," said Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) president Sándor Csányi. "Gyula Grosics was an outstanding personality of Hungarian football. His death is a painful loss not only for Hungary but for football-loving people all over the world. His memory, his talents, his personal sporting attitude will always be remembered."

Former Hungary player and coach Kálmán Mészöly said: "Gyula was an exceptional person. I liked and respected him not only because of his sporting achievements but also for his personal values. It was a great honour for me to be able to say we were good friends. When I first entered the national team I immediately sensed a huge amount of awe and respect towards him from the team and soon I realised why. No other goalkeeper in the world could react to and save shots like he could."

A four-time national title winner, his former clubs included home-town side Dorogi FC, MATEOSZ MSE, Budapest Honvéd FC and FC Tatabánya, whom he later coached – and whose home stadium is named in his honour.