100. Zoltán Czibor

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100. Zoltán Czibor

Hungarian star Zoltán Czibor was one of the stars of the national team’s legendary forward line of the early 1950s. After beginning his career with Komarom as a teenager, he moved to Ferencváros in 1948 and won his first major honour when the club took the Hungarian league title in 1949, making his debut for the national team in the same year.
 
Following short spells with EDOSZ and Csepel SC, he played a starring role for the Hungarian Olympic team in Helsink in 1952, scoring the second goal in the final against Yugoslavia as Hungary took the gold medal. The national team went on a long unbeaten run and were hot favourites to win the World Cup in Switzerland in 1954. Czibor scored three goals in the tournament, including the second in the final as Hungary took a 2-0 lead aganst West Germany, but the Germans hit back to win 3-2 and inflict Hungary’s first defeat in two years.
 
Having moved to Honvéd in 1952, Czibor enjoyed great success domestically either side of that World Cup disappointment. Honvéd won league titles in both 1954 and 1955, and were well fancied to have a good run in the European Cup in 1956-57. However, in between the two games against Atlético Bilbao in the first round there was an uprising in Budapest, and the players decided against returning home. Many of the team, Czibor included, left the club and continued their careers in Western Europe.
 
Czibor played for a short time in Italy with AS Roma, but eventually joined former Hungarian team mates Ladislao Kubala and Sándor Kocsis at Barcelona. With Barcelona, he won a league and cup double in 1959 and another league title in 1960. 1960 also brought success in the inaugural Fairs Cup, where Czibor scored twice in the second leg of the final against Birmingham City. In 1961, Barcelona reached the European Cup final and although Czibo scored late on, it was not enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat to Benfica.
 
After leaving Barcelona, Czibor joined their city rivals Espanyol, before finishing his career with short spells in Switzerland, Austria and Canada before retiring. He eventually returned to Hungary a quarter of a century after leaving, following the collapse of Communism. Zoltán Czibor died in 1997 after suffering from cancer, just a few days after his 68th birthday.
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