Imre SchlosserHungary



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Born: Friday 11 October 1889, Budapest, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary)
Died: Sunday 19 July 1959, Budapest, Hungary (aged 69)
Position: Centre Forward


Hungarian centre forward Imre Schlosser-Lakatos was one of the most prolific goalscorers in world football during the early years of the 20th century.  In a playing career which lasted almost 25 years, he set a goalscoring record for the Hungarian national team which would last until the country's golden era of the 1950s and a record for the Hungarian league which still stands today, more than 80 years after his retirement.


Schlosser was born in Budapest in 1889, and as a teenager was spotted and signed by Ferencváros, already one of the country's leading clubs.  His impact was immediate.  He broke into the first team in the 1905 season, scoring once in four league appearances.  By the autumn of 1906 he had made his first appearance for the national team days before his 17th birthday, in a 4-4 draw with Bohemia in Prague.  The following month he scored his first international goal in a win over Austria.


Through the next seven years, Schlosser's goals brought regular success to Ferencváros.  The league title was won in 1907, and then having just missed out in 1908 five more titles followed in a row between 1909 and 1913, with the last being part of a league and cup double.  Schlosser was crucial to these successes, finishing as leading goalscorer in the Hungarian league in all five of the consecutive championship winning seasons.  In the last three of those seasons, he was not just Hungary's leading goalscorer but the leading scorer across the whole of Europe, a feat which he repeated for a fourth year in a row in 1913-14.


His aggressive style and accurate shooting made him the most feared striker in the world at the time.  His goalscoring rate during those seasons of success with Ferencváros would be unthinkable in the modern game.  At his peak he was scoring an average of two goals per game across an entire league season, with 38 goals in 18 league games in 1910-11, 34 goals in 17 games in 1911-12 and 33 in 16 games in 1912-13.


With the national team, Schlosser played in his only major international tournament at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm.  Hopes of a medal were crushed in Hungary's very first match, as they were thrashed 7-0 by Great Britain, but they were still able to enter the consolation tournament.  In that tournament Schlosser scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 semi-final win over Germany, and in the final against Austria he opened the scoring after 32 minutes as Hungary went on to win 3-0.


In 1916, Schlosser left Ferencváros to join their great rivals MTK.  His first season saw him finish as leading goalscorer in the Hungarian league for the seventh time in his career, as his 38 goals brought MTK the first of what would be nine consecutive league titles.  Although Schlosser himself would only be at the club for the first six of these titles, he had still remarkably matched the six he won with Ferencváros. He scored his 59th and final goal for the Hungarian national team in a 4-2 win over Sweden in November 1921, a record total which would stand until broken by Ferenc Puskás in Hungary's famous 6-3 win over England at Wembley in 1953.


Leaving MTK in 1922, Schlosser surprisingly ended his playing career at the age of just 33, making a move away from Hungary and into coaching with IFK Norrköping in Sweden.  His two years in Sweden were brought no great success, as Norrköping could only finish 6th and 5th in the eastern group of the Swedish league.  His next stop was Poland, joining Wisła Kraków in the autumn of 1924.  He successfully led Wisła through the southern group of the Polish championship in 1925, but in the final group against the other two regional champions they could only win one of their four matches and finished in third place.


From Poland, Schlosser moved next to Austria and despite now being in his mid 30s, resumed his playing career with Wiener Sport Club, who he joined as a player-coach. After one season in Vienna, he returned home to Budapest to rejoin Ferencváros, and in the 1926-27 season helped the club to another league title, the 13th of his remarkable career. His return to Ferencváros brought a surprise return to the national team in 1926, where he won three final caps without adding to his record 59 goals.  His last appearance for the national team came in a 6-0 defeat to Austria in Vienna in 1927, remarkably more than 20 years after he had made his international debut.


After his final title winning season with Ferencváros, Schlosser moved on again, this time to Konzum (later BVSC), where he spent the 1927-28 season before ending his playing career at the age of 39.  In total, he played 303 games in the Hungarian league and scored 411 goals, a remarkable average of 1.33 goals per game and a goalscoring record that has never been broken.  Schlosser died in 1959, three months short of his 70th birthday.


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