Monday, December 12, 2011

12 December 2001 - The Death Of The World's Greatest Goalscorer

On 12 December 2001, former Slavia Prague forward Josef "Pepi" Bican passed away at the age of 88. His career total of over 1,460 goals is the greatest tally in the recorded history of football.

Born in Vienna in 1913, Bican began his professional career in 1931 with Rapid Vienna and two years later earned his first cap for Austria. He stayed with Rapid for three years, scoring 184 goals in 144 appearances in all competitions. In 1934, he moved across town to Admira Vienna, where he continued his blistering scoring pace, knocking in another 119 goals in 85 appearances across all competitions. He also got his first silverware, winning the league in 1936 and 1937.

He moved to Slavia Prague in 1937 and remained there until 1948 (a year after making the switch, he also switched his international team, exchanging Austria in favor of Czechoslovakia). His form followed him, as he was Europe's top scorer in each season from 1939-40 to 1943-44 (admittedly while many leagues were suspended for World War II). In all, he made 427 recorded appearances for Slavia Prague, including friendlies, scoring an incredible total of 832 goals.

He retired as a player in 1956, having spent brief periods with Sokol Vítkovice (93 goals from 1949 to 1951), Hradec Králové (18 goals from 1952 to 1953), and Dynamo Prague (81 goals from 1953 to 1956). His career total of 1,468 makes him the highest goalscorer in world history, over subsequent--and more familiar--luminaries such as Pelé (1,284 in all competitions) and Gerd Müller (1,461 in all competitions).

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