We can compete with anyone at the European Championship – Marco Rossi

Marco Rossi (Photo: Attila Török)

– How was the evening after the match?
– We stayed together in the dressing room, then we had dinner with the team and family members in the VIP section of the Puskás Arena – he answered Marco Rossi at the book presentation of the national team captain on Monday, at which, in addition to other representatives of the media, Nemzeti Sport could also ask questions. – Later, the players went to the city to celebrate and asked if I was going with them. I said, I’m too old for this, I better go home and sleep.

– After the victory against Montenegro, he went up to the stands and greeted the fans in Hungarian in the stadium. How are you doing with the promised language learning?
– My wife and I started language lessons during the Covid epidemic, then life got busier again, the tasks multiplied, I had less time for other things, and language learning took a back seat among tasks. Even so, something sticks with me, because listening to the live speech, I recognize words, but if someone starts explaining quickly, I can no longer follow.


– On Sunday, Dominik Szoboszlai turned the game around with two brilliant goals and a free kick before the third goal. Some have already mentioned moves reminiscent of Lionel Messi.
– Dominik is able to move the points of balance in the team game, his role is decisive. If the game isn’t going his way – because it happens – it’s still worth keeping him on the field, because he can change the game with just one move. We saw this three years ago with his goal against Iceland in extra time of the Euro qualifier, but also against Montenegro, Bulgaria and Lithuania. What he did on Sunday was extraordinary. In his game, the talent, the desire to develop, the character personality and the strength in him are concentrated, and I have to add here that I have no merit in this.

– What were the three defining memories of the European Championship qualifying series left behind?
– The most beautiful and at the same time the most stressful episode was the twenty minutes that passed between the second Bulgarian goal and our equalizer in Sofia. The moment in the 97th minute was an incredibly liberating and uplifting experience. Second, I would highlight the unbeaten streak since last fall’s match against Italy. And thirdly, I would say that if you think about it, my captaincy sometimes depends on inches. If the draw against the Bulgarians doesn’t come together, and the translation doesn’t work out against the Montenegrins either, it’s quite possible that I would demand my resignation now.


– In a previous interview, he talked about how if he hadn’t taken a job in Hungary eleven years ago, at the Budapest Defense Force, he might have ended up under the bridge in Italy. What did you mean by the statement?
“For the frustration I felt when I saw it like that, I can’t give my family what I used to.” Human beings have an instinctive desire to take care of their loved ones and give them a decent standard of living. I never had big needs, I didn’t live in a castle, I didn’t have a Ferrari, my teammates even teased me at the time that I was driving a modest Lancia Thema. I wasn’t considered a particularly good player, and after I finished my career, I had to realize that from the age of seven to the age of thirty-seven, I was only concerned with the game and I didn’t know anything else. I coached for smaller teams, but financially it meant quite a modest income. Anyone who knows me knows that I have never called presidents, directors, or journalists to introduce myself. I only got to the Honvéd as a result of a lucky visit, my wife and I went to see my friend Pippo, Giuseppe Giambertone, who, knowing my situation, put me in touch with Fabio Cordella, then director of the Honvéd, and club president George F. Hemingway.

– From time to time, it is suggested that he be called to a foreign club. How about contacting me from Italy?
– Between two team announcements, I monitor the processes perceptible in Hungarian and foreign social media. It seems to me that the average Italian opinion is that those who work abroad as Italians probably left because they are not good enough in Italy. Approaching sixty, based on the work done in Hungary and the respect here, I think I deserve more respect than that. I have had offers from other leagues in recent years, but none from Italy. I say this without any offense or complaint. I have repeatedly emphasized that I am extremely happy to be able to work here, and I hope to continue working in Hungary.


– How has he changed as a coach in the last decade?
– I follow the best in the profession, I try to follow the trends. Already as a player, I was lucky enough to work with excellent trainers, and later I tried to observe the innovators and borrow from them what could be useful for us. I also learn from Carlo Ancelotti, Josep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp, and the work of the Liverpool manager is worth following closely if only because of Dominik Szoboszlai. In this respect, the craft of coaching is similar to that of a doctor, who obtains his degree, but learns the way of healing while practicing. I consider the possibilities and, like a great tailor, I try to get the best out of the available material. It is difficult for opponents to play against us because we can adapt, we are unpredictable.

– If you had to single out one match from your time as captain, which one would you say?
– The two European Championship qualifiers and participation in the tournament in 2021 meant a lot, but if I had to name the most intense, strongest positive experience, I would say the 4-0 away victory against England. Nothing has surpassed Wolverhampton so far, it was like being in a sci-fi movie.

– How do you imagine the ideal preparation for the European Championship?
– I am looking at the possible opponents, it is certain that no matter how the draw goes, a tough tournament awaits us. As for the months ahead, I don’t see the point in playing preparatory matches with teams that are much weaker than us. We need to improve in being able to speed up or slow down our game by reading the events on the court. In order to compete even with the biggest, we need not only great sporting achievements, but also strong personalities. Some have it, but there are others who still need to work on it.

– In his statement after Sunday’s match, Loic Nego mentioned the 2004 European Championship and the example of the Greek national team that unexpectedly won the gold medal. Looking at the chances, does the parallel hold its place?
– Many things are said in the moments of joy after victory. President Sándor Csányi also started to put some pressure on us, but we all know that in euphoric moments, people tend to lose sight of reality. So I’d rather say let’s keep both feet on the ground. If no one is injured and everyone is at their best, we can compete with anyone at the European Championships.

Monday’s dedication in Budapest (Photo: Csaba Dömötör)
1. HUNGARY 8 5 3 16 to 7 +9 18
2. Serbia 8 4 2 2 15–9 +6 14
3. Montenegro 8 3 2 3 9–11 -2 11
4. Lithuania 8 1 3 4 8–14 -6 6
5. Bulgaria 8 4 4 7–14 -7 4


The program

Friday, March 24

Bulgaria-Montenegro 0-1 (0-0)
Razgrad. G: Krstovics (70.)
Serbia-Lithuania 2-0 (1-0)
Belgrade. G: Tadics (16th), Vlahovics (53rd)
Day off: Hungary

Monday, March 27
Hungary-Bulgaria 3-0
Budapest. G: Vécsei (7th), Szoboszlai D. (26th), Ádám M. (40th)
Montenegro-Serbia 0-2 (0-0)
Podgorica. G: Vlahovics (78., 90+6.)
Day off: Lithuania

Saturday, June 17
Lithuania-Bulgaria 1-1 (1-1)
Kaunas. G: Girdvainis (15), or M. Petkov (27.)
Montenegro-Hungary 0-0
Day off: Serbia

Tuesday, June 20
Hungary-Lithuania 2-0 (1-0)
Puskás Arena. G: Barnabás Varga (32), R. Sallai (83)
Bulgaria-Serbia 1-1 (0-0)
Razgrad. G: Deszpodov (47), or Lazovics (90+6.)
Day off: Montenegro

Thursday, September 7
Serbia-Hungary 1-2 (1-2)
Belgrade. G: Attila Szalai (10th – own goal), or Barnabás Varga (34th), W. Orbán (36th)
Lithuania-Montenegro 2-2 (0-0)
Kaunas. G: Paulauskas (71), Cernych (90+4), or Krstovics (78), Savics (89)
Day off: Bulgaria

Sunday, September 10
Montenegro-Bulgaria 2-1 (1-0)
Podgorica. G: Savics (45+1.), Jovetics (90+6.), or Borukov (79.)
Lithuania-Serbia 1-3 (1-3)
Vilnius. G:
Paulauskas (45), or A. Mitrovics (21., 32., 43.)
Day off: Hungary

Saturday, October 14
Bulgaria-Lithuania 0-2 (0-1)
Sofia. G: Sirvys (45, 55)
Hungary–Serbia 2–1 (2–1)
Budapest. G: Varga B. (20th), Sallai (34th), or Pavlovich (33.)
Day off: Montenegro

October 17, Tuesday
Serbia-Montenegro 3-1 (1-1)
Belgrade. G: A. Mitrovics (9th, 73rd), Tadics (77th), or Jovetics (36.)
Lithuania-Hungary 2-2
Kaunas. G: Cernych (20th), Sirvys (36th), or Szoboszlai (67th – from 11th), Barnabás Varga (82nd)
Day off: Bulgaria

Thursday, November 16
Bulgaria-Hungary 2-2 (1-1)
Sofia. G:
Delev (24th), Deszpodov (79th – from 11th), or Ádám (10th), Petkov (90+7th minute – own goal)
Montenegro-Lithuania 2-0 (1-0)
Podgorica. G: Kucs (3rd), Jovetic (48th)
Day off: Serbia

Sunday, November 19
Serbia-Bulgaria 2-2 (1-0)
Leszkovac. G:
Veljkovics (17th), Babics (80th), or Rusev (59), Despodov (69)
Hungary-Montenegro 3-1 (0-1)
Budapest. G
: Szoboszlai (66, 68), Nagy Á. (90+3.), or Rubezsic (36.)
Day off: Lithuania

The article is in Hungarian

Tags: compete European Championship Marco Rossi


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