Hungarian footballers don’t have a rich history of appearing in the English Premier League, with just ten joining the division’s teams since its inception in 1992. With that in mind, here’s a look at the Hungarian players who have flown the Hungarian flag in the English top flight.
ISTVÁN KOZMA, LIVERPOOL
Kozma was the Hungarian trailblazer, the first of his countrymen to enter the brave new world of the English Premier League. He’d previously been a success north of the border with Scottish side Dunfermline after a move from Bordeaux in France.
It was Graeme Souness who chose to take the player to Liverpool, arguably the best club side in the country at the time. Kozma never settled at Liverpool and only appeared a handful of times. After his Anfield dream ended, he forged a good career in Cyprus, standing out in APOEL’s double-winning season.
SÁNDOR TORGHELLE, CRYSTAL PALACE
Torghelle was a striker of whom much was expected at Crystal Palace. He was the first Hungarian in a decade to enter the Premier League and, for his impressive form on the international stage, Iain Dowie paid £750,000 to MTK Budapest for his services and awarded him the number nine shirt.
Like Kozma, Torghelle found English football difficult to adjust to. Andy Johnson started scoring regularly and Palace went for a formation that incorporated one striker, meaning Torghelle was the odd one out. When he did get a start, against Charlton in the League Cup, he scored. Unfortunately, he was also sent off for diving, which all-but ended his Palace career.
GÁBOR KIRÁLY, CRYSTAL PALACE & ASTON VILLA
Arguably one of the best Hungarian imports ever seen in the Premier League, Király made his name at Palace after signing at the same time as Torghelle. It took him little time to break into the first team and, once he did, he became a regular. He was made famous by his insistence on wearing grey tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts and for saving a Frank Lampard penalty as Hungary slipped to a 3-1 defeat against England.
As of 2018, Király is back in Hungary playing for Szombathelyi Haladás.
ZOLTÁN GERA, WEST BROMWICH ALBION & FULHAM
Gera is, without a doubt, the most successful outfield Hungarian to feature in the Premier League. He left Ferencváros in a £1.5m deal to West Brom in 2004 and spent the next ten years playing in England.
In his first spell at West Brom, he was phenomenal, scoring within three minutes of his first start against Spurs. In all, Gera scored six league goals in his first season and was the only player at the club to appear in every league game.
He later played for Fulham, scoring twice as they beat Juventus and finding the match winner against Hamburg to send the Cottagers to their first ever European Final.
TAMÁS PRISKIN, WATFORD
Priskin spent much of his career in England but only joined the Premier League for a solitary season with Watford in 2006/07. Also, despite being Hungarian, he was born in Komárno, Czechoslovakia.
He joined Watford after a successful trial in 2006 but scored just twice in the league as they were relegated. He went on to score 25 goals in his six seasons in England before a move to Russia. He’s now back in Hungary playing for Ferencváros.
PÉTER HALMOSI, HULL CITY
Halmosi started his English career with Plymouth Argyle, joining as their record signing at £400,000. After one impressive season, Premier League side Hull City splashed out £2m to make him, at the time, their record signing also. Just 18 matches and three years later, he was gone, signing for Szombathelyi Haladás on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
PÉTER KURUCZ, WEST HAM UNITED
Keeper Kurucz makes the list by virtue of a solitary game, coming on as a substitute for Robert Green at Upton Park in a 4–0 defeat to Manchester United. He kept a clean sheet for his short spell but an anterior cruciate injury later ended his West Ham career.
He signed for West Ham from Újpest who, on 20th February, were priced at 19/20 to progress in the Magyar Kupa with Betway. He ended his career in Budapest with Soroksár.
MÁRTON FÜLÖP, SUNDERLAND & MANCHESTER CITY & WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Giant keeper Fülöp had eight years in England, five of which were spent in the top flight. He enjoyed spells at no less than nine English clubs, playing regularly for Sunderland, Leicester, Ipswich and Coventry after failing to break through at Spurs.
Tragically, Fülöp passed away from cancer in 2015, on the same day his Hungarian teammates secured a 1-0 win against fancied Norway in the Euro 2016 play-off match. They went on to qualify for their first major tournament in 20 years, with all of his teammates spaying tribute to him after the match. Tamás Priskin, scorer of a goal in the second leg, dedicated it to the respected keeper.
ÁDÁM BOGDÁN, BOLTON WANDERERS & LIVERPOOL
Yet another keeper, Bogdan has had over a decade in the English game. He made his name at Bolton Wanderers but, in 2015, made a shock switch to Liverpool. He has only played twice for the Reds in the Premier League, enjoying a loan spell at Wigan Athletic in 2016. In November 2016, he suffered a tear in his ACL against Barnsley and hasn’t played since.
ÁKOS BUZSÁKY, QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Last, but not least, is Ákos Buzsáky. He joined the Premier League party late, playing just one season with Queens Park Rangers. Altogether, he spent eight years in England before ending his career with Ferencváros.
So, there you have it. Who was your favourite Hungarian export?