Dzsudzsák proved in the preparation match against Vasas that he has a leading role for a reason (Photos: Attila Török)

 

The media are full of photos – with you in focus – of the pre-season match against Vasas on Saturday.
– It wasn't that big of a deal," told our portal 34-year-old Balázs Dzsudzsák, player for DVSC and the Hungarian national team player of 108 times, who participated in his team's preparation match on Saturday and even scored the first (penalty) goal. – Two players argued, that could happen at the end of a long training camp, when some footballers run out of patience. As the captain, I had to be there to defend my teammate, separate the parties, and try to cool things down. Then the match continued.

Besides, you talked a lot during the meeting in Telki: you often praised, but occasionally scolded your teammates.
– The coach, Szabolcs Huszti, asked me to do this. He expects the captain not to just choose the side of the pitch, but to make sure the players are focused and hungry for success all along. If I need to tell someone what we agreed on in the pre-match tactical meeting, I'll let them know – Szabi says the others are listening to me, following me, I have a responsibility in what I do on and off the field.

From the stands, you seemed very determined, not to say anything else, you made three spectacular slide tackles. Don't take it personally, but with a little exaggeration, you haven't made such acts like these all your career. However, I must say all three tackle attempts were successful since you possessed the ball.
– I was very happy for them! You see, even I'm learning, and if winning requires me to slide, I'm not hesitating for a second. I can understand why Szabi thinks the others are listening to me. If they see me sliding to success, not pulling my leg back on a tougher kick, then they're doing their best as well. And I was especially pleased that I was able to possess the ball. The timing was right, and not just because the pitch was wet, and it was nice to slide on it. I knew when I had to execute it.

 

Although we knew you as a winger, you often played in jersey number 7, now you're in position 6 with the number 19. Did you change positions?
– We're trying out that as well. Ever since Szabolcs Huszti was our coach, we've been playing football in a different order, in a new system. We practiced this against Vasas. Maybe it's not six, but position eight, and it's reassuring to me that József Varga is next to me, so after getting the ball, I can safely head towards the opponent's goal if I know he's supporting me in the back. Of course, being calm can be dangerous. Józsi has pumped his head with the opponent, and he had to be treated. The match went on, and I forgot for a moment that he wasn't there next to me or behind me. As I looked back, I was scared of the gap between our defensive line and the midfield, so I ran back, but luckily, it didn't become a problem.

How do you like this position?
– It's kind of a withdrawn leader role. I'm in the game a lot, and Szabi says I have the ball in the right place and the player shouldn't argue with his coach, right? Of course, it's a joke, but the idea of trying to organize our game there, in the center of the pitch, will play an important role in bringing the ball out. If we want to dominate the league games – and that is the goal – we have to possess the ball. I enjoy this role, but I needed time to get used to it. And I enjoy the company as well, we have a good community, and we have the right motivation. We feel that we're not expected much of. We're going to be newcomers in NB I, but we don't mind that. We just work quietly.

It's a familiar turn of events for this particular good community, but I witnessed that you turned around in the parking lot with your car and the younger players commented on the maneuver all the way through. They joked about it by asking, “Do you need help?” “Is there gas in it?” or saying, “You hit the car behind you!”
– Sure, we tease each other a lot, and that's fine! Don't feel sorry for me. I give them just as much I get from the guys. I'm really having a good time here, and I'm glad the younger ones don't feel like there's someone here who can't talk to, but they can just make fun of me, and they know I won't be offended. It's also true that there's a certain limit to teasing, I get respect, but I also give it to everyone.

– The NB I league is about to start.
– I can't wait to play in the new arena in Kispest. And I want to be at the other stadiums that have been renovated. I'm excited, and I really hope that there will be a lot of spectators on home grounds in Debrecen and at away matches as well. I wonder what it will be like to play football in the Hungarian topflight again after almost a decade and a half.

– Might be a tough question: with what emotions did you watch this year's European Championship matches?
– I was one of the 15 million Hungarian fans! I accepted that I couldn't be on the pitch, but I didn't want to watch the games on television with the blinds down, so I went to the Puskás Aréna to cheer. The guys actually invited me to march with the spectators, but that might've been weird, and I wanted to be in the stadium. I was in touch with some players, I congratulated them, I was really proud of our national team after all three games! I don't deny that when the anthem was playing before the match against Portugal, I shed my tears because my heart was aching that I couldn't be down on the field, and the memories came back. However, I took note of the head coach's decision that he doesn't choose from the second division. But we've been promoted, and my goal is to help “Loki” with a performance that will bring me back to the national team.

THE HUNGARIAN WINGER DEBUTED IN NB I AT 18 YEARS OF AGE 

Balázs Dzsudzsák made his debut in “Loki” in the Hungarian First Division at the age of 18 on April 9, 2005 (DVSC-MTK 3–0, in the 79th minute head coach Attila Supka replaced Zsombor Kerekes with him). A year later, in April 2006, Nemzeti Sport reported that in the 19th minute of the DVTK-DVSC (3–3) league meeting, "Dzsudzsák got a good ball from Brnović, ran past the defenders, and then fired a shot into the bottom left corner from 14 meters with his left foot.” This was his first goal in the Hungarian topflight. In his third season, he was awarded the Discoverer of the Year award. On June 2, 2007, he made his debut in the Hungarian national team on the island of Crete (Greece-Hungary 2–0) and was a member until November 2019 (Wales-Hungary 2–0). This was his 108th appearance for Hungary making him a co-record holder with Gábor Király for the number of matches played in the national team.

Translated by Vanda Orosz