The Best: Josef Bican

Born: Vienna 25 September 1913

Position: Forward

Club(s): Schustek, Farbenlutz, Rapid Vienna, Admira Wacker, Slavia Prague, FC Vitkovice, Hradlec Kralove

Country: Austria

International Caps: 19 (14 for Czechoslovakia & 1 for Bohemia & Moravia)

International Goals: 14 (12 for Czechoslovakia & 3 for Bohemia & Moravia)

Arguably the most prolific striker in football history. Josef Bican scored over 800 competitive goals whilst playing his club football in Eastern Europe and is acknowledged as finding the net more than anyone (including the likes of Pele & Puskas) not taking friendly matches in account.

Bican born in Vienna was of Austro-Hungarian descent and was capped by Austria, Czechoslavakia and Bohemia and Moravia during the 1930s.

A speedy player who could use both feet, he was the European top goalscorer on five separate occasions and could run 100 metres in a remarkably fast 10.8 seconds.

Bican who’s parents were Czech followed his father’s footsteps as a footballer and joined Hertha Vienna as a junior before playing for Schustek where he scored over a goal a game between 1928 and 1930. After doing even better at Farbenlutz (scoring 47 league goals in 20 games) he moved to Rapid Vienna aged 20 where he scored 52 league goals in 49 games.

After a short spell at Admira Wacker Bican moved to Czechoslavakia in 1937 where he would play for Slavia Prague during the war years recording 354 league goals in nine seasons (topping the league charts in each year of this time) winning five league titles en-route.

Follwing his success Bican rejected lucrative interest from several top European clubs and stayed in Czechoslavakia eventually joining Vitkovice in 1950 where he again scored on average almost a goal a game.

‘Pepi’ as he was known shortly joined Hradlec Kralove before being forced to move on political grounds, he rejoined Slavia Prague before retiring aged 42 in 1955.

Bican went on to Manage Slavia and Slovan Liberec before a handful more roles but it was his name as a goalscorer that earned him a legendary status in both Czechoslavakia and Austria for whom he played for in the 1934 World Cup.

Not in Pele’s league? He may not be as popular on a global basis due to his down to earth nature and the low profile of football during the war torn years but no one can take away this most incredible feat of goalscoring by a player who deserves remembering much more than he sadly is.

Bican died aged 88 in 2001 his ability to find the net more than any other player in history ensures his name deservedly lives on and amongst the very best.

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