Real Madrid have defended themselves following criticism they received for the meagre amount of money that was raised for former legend Ferenc Puskas during a recent benefit match.
Real took part in an exhibition match in Budapest in August organised to raise funds for the 78-year-old who requires full-time treatment because he is suffering from a form of Alzheimer’s disease.
The match reportedly resulted in a just £7,000 being donated to his family, while Real were said to have been paid an appearance fee of £892,000.
In a statement on the club’s website Real said that they had already agreed to play a pre-season friendly in Hungary before they were approached about taking part in the fund-raiser for Puskas.
“The organisers, Trendsport, proposed that the friendly be converted into a tribute for Puskas and Real Madrid accepted it for that reason whilst deciding to reject other more lucrative offers,” the statement said.
“Real Madrid asked the organisers to reach an agreement with Puskas’s family so that they would receive some money.”
Real also denied being pressurised by Fifa into making further donations to the player.
“Real Madrid has been contributing an important sum of money for a number of years in order to subsidise the costs of the player’s medical care,” said the club.
“From September 2000, Real Madrid has made a monthly contribution to Puskas via its Foundation and to a bank account in the name of the player and his wife Elizabeth.”
It had been hoped that the Budapest fund-raiser would provide a trust fund for Puskas’s long-term care but according to newspaper reports his wife and daughter Aniko had accused the organisers of “hijacking the name of Puskas” to get Real Madrid to Budapest.
Puskas will now sell more than 100 personal mementos of his illustrious career at a British auction next month in an attempt to raise further funds.
Hungary’s most famous sportsman and regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever players, Puskas scored 83 goals in 84 appearances for his country. He captained the side to victory in the 1952 Olympic Games and was a key member of the team which finished runners-up to Germany in the 1954 World Cup final.
Puskas joined Real Madrid in 1958 as a 31-year-old and became the only player to score four goals in a European Cup final in the 7-3 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1960 European Cup final.