“I felt like I was losing the ground from under my feet,” the captain also spoke about his difficult time in Italy.
It was published “Marco Rossi – Keep it up Mister!” book, which deals with the life of the captain of the Hungarian national team.
“I didn’t even read the previous one, I just looked at the pictures,” commented Marco Rossi jokingly, who signed and presented his second biographical book published in Hungarian together with the author, András Ch. Gáll, in front of great press interest. The popularity is no accident, as the Hungarian national team defeated Montenegro 3-1 one day before the book launch, thus qualifying for the 2024 European Championship with a four-point lead.
“The book is twice as thick as the first one and is largely about the five-year streak since 2018. Apart from one or two setbacks, these five years have been a successful series. The team also performed excellently in the League of Nations, the end of which could be qualifying for the World Cup, but this is the music of the future,” said the author, who has known Rossi since 2012, or since his role in Hungary.
“Hungarians are very accepting”
The Italian specialist first worked at the Budapest Defense Force in our country, and he was the first to talk about it when he was asked to compare the two countries. “From the first moment I started working at the Honvéd, I felt at home. It is difficult to generalize, but Hungarians are very accepting. They turned to me with respect and esteem, and we Hungarians and Italians are very similar in this,” Rossi recalled the beginnings, then moved on to the differences between the two countries’ football.
“There are differences, from the reality of the academies to the first teams. There is also a difference between the championships and the mentality of the two countries. Hungarian soccer players have nothing to envy from anyone in Europe or the world. They also have good abilities in an athletic and physical sense.”
What I have experienced, unfortunately, is that many of them get comfortable in their comfort zone and do not have the ability to react to things immediately if necessary. That is why our professional team takes this into account when we are looking for players to call up to the national team.
“It is important to have this ability in addition to professional and technical knowledge. This can also be seen when we are at a disadvantage in a given match. That’s when it shows whether our team has the ability to stand up and react to the game,” said Rossi, who doesn’t talk in the air, and it’s enough to look at the last three matches. Against Lithuania they managed to equalize from 0-2, against the Bulgarians the goal was scored at the last moment to make it 2-2, which meant participation in the European Championship, while against Montenegro the national team turned from 0-1 to 3-1.
When Rossi almost became an accountant
Rossi’s life before his arrival in Hungary was in a hole, and he almost turned away from football. “I have to tell the truth. I was a soccer player before I became a coach, I played soccer from the age of 7 to the age of 37, apart from that I don’t know anything. After that I became a coach, but my situation really became very difficult, at the age of 46-47 I felt like I was losing the ground from under my feet.”
Then my brother – who always comes to Hungary with his group of folkloristic friends to watch my matches – offered a helping hand in this difficult situation. He owns a well-established accounting firm and offered to work there. I should have moved back home to Turin to complete a vocational qualification course and I could have gone to work there.”
“I remember it was in November 2011, I was supposed to start work at the beginning of 2012, but we decided to visit my friend Pippo in this restaurant, where we are still on Andrássy út. If I hadn’t decided to come visit him then, we wouldn’t be here now. I’m not in the habit of offering myself and asking for opportunities, but then we were here from morning to night, and Pippo and my wife asked me to call Fabio Cordella, the sports director of the Honvéd at the time, all day long.”
Rossi met with Cordella three or four times, and the sports director turned to owner George F. Hemingway, who finally decided to appoint Rossi. “With Attila Supka (who voluntarily left the bench), the Honvéd marched well, they finished fourth, but Hemingway gave me the opportunity to prove myself. We managed to lead the team to the podium. Honvéd is a historic team, as big as Fradi or Újpest, and has been on the podium twice in the last 30 years. And I had a role in this both times, together with my colleague Cosimo Inguscio. It’s a great pride, and it’s important to think about the past when we work, because only then can we focus clearly on the present and the future.”
“I became a completely different coach”
According to András Ch. Gáll, Rossi has a bit of a dual personality. (“More so because as a captain I’m more excited and not so calm,” Rossi interjected). As a coach, you enter an altered state of consciousness. But compared to the way he managed the matches in the Honvéd, a serious change can be seen in him. As a coach of the Honvéd, he was sent off the bench. What happened then and what has changed since then?
“Being a head coach is always a big responsibility, especially for a big club like Honvéd was and still is. But when you represent a country with such a significant history as Hungary, you have to modify certain behavioral manifestations that might not fit into the framework. The dress code has also changed. I’m not a person who likes to wear a tie, I just can’t stand it. I became a completely different coach. But I’m happy about it, because a coach’s craft is like that of a doctor. You get your degree and then you have to keep improving.”