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Josef Bican and his forgotten records

Modified 10 Jun 2014
Josef Bican (Right) – The Forgotten hero of world football

Josef Bican is the forgotten man of world football. He graced the football field almost a century ago and had the wonderful ability to play with both feet and that too with considerable pace. He was the Cristiano Ronaldo of the 20th Century; arguably even better. His professional career began when he was 12 years old and he played the beautiful game for another 30 years, scoring goals at will.

Bican was born to a poor Czech family and his main hobby was predictably, playing street football. The streets made him the great player blessed with great improvisation and the ability to score with both feet. He had pace that would put any International Athlete proud. This man was a true all-rounder in the game of football.

Here are some of his amazing achievements.

  1. In 2001, The International Federation of Football Historians and Statisticians awarded Bican the "Golden Ball" as the greatest goalscorer of the last century.
  2. Including friendlies and reserve matches, this man has scored a whopping tally of 1468 goals in 918 matches. Pele Who?
  3. Now let’s cancel out the reserve and friendly matches. He still remains the top professional goal scorer in official matches, with 805 goals in 530 matches - according to Rec. Sport. Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF).
  4. Because he played fewer matches and had a tremendous goal-to-game ratio, his record is much better than the great Pele himself.
  5. In terms of League matches, he scored over 600 goals, compared to Romario (546), Pele (538) and Puskas (517).
  6. Bican was powerfully built and could run the 100m in 10.8 seconds, which was faster than many athletes of the time. Pretty Impressive eh?!
  7. He was one of a handful of players who are considered by two countries as theirs; Czechoslovakia and Austria.

This great footballer passed away in 2001 without any fanfare or glory. He enjoyed a career that was filled with goals. Bican would have had the world on its toes and would have been considered the world’s best if he had born decades later.

It was not only his incredible goalscoring feats that endeared Bican to the footballing public. During his time with Slavia, crowds used to number in the hundreds just to watch him train because Bican's training sessions were often more like circus acts – and fans were happy to pay a few korunas to watch him. Whilst the rest of the squad practiced routines or ran laps, Bican would turn-up with a hamper of empty bottles, which he would proceed to balance on the top of the flat wooden crossbar, spaced about one foot apart. He then stepped back to the edge of the penalty-area, put down a bunch of balls and took aim. One by one from twenty yards Bican would knock the bottles off the bar with his shots, and on a bad day – the story goes – he would maybe miss one in ten.


Nevertheless, he was lucky to have born in an era where goal scoring was easier, but then unlucky enough to have played and lived during the two World Wars which marred his career and his life. But whatever might ot migh not had happened, his record would stand the test of time and would probably stand forever as long as the beautiful game lasts. Cheers to Josef Bican – The Forgotten Goalscorer.

Published 09 Jun 2014, 20:58 IST
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