Ádám Szalai held a press conference on Wednesday, where he announced that he will retire from the Hungarian national team after Monday’s Nations League match against Italy, Nemzeti Sport, a Hungarian sport website reported.
“I planned this press conference a little differently. After all these years as team captain, I felt I deserved not to have press releases a few hours before the announcement. The only reason I’m still sitting here is for our fans, who I hope will continue to support us in the same way in the future. Obviously you’ve already covered all the news, but now I’m confirming that I’ll be ending my national team career after the Italian game. This is not a recent thing, I have been looking for the right time for the last weeks and months,” began Ádám Szalai.
Ádám Szalai has been a key player of the Hungarian National Football Team
The team captain said that at the age of 35, he feels that the national team is on the right track and that the manager, Marco Rossi, is leading the team in the right direction. He said that the next competitive match for the Hungarian national team after the Nations League will be the European Championship qualifier in March, and he wanted to find a date that would allow the team to prepare for finding a successor.
It was a huge dream of mine to play for the Hungarian national team. My biggest dream was to make it happen.”
“To be able to play in two European Championships and be part of it as captain was a huge experience for me. The successes and failures of the past few years and the criticism and support I have received at bad times have all helped me grow up,” he said.
Szalai recalled that with the Hungarian national team he had experienced matches where the fans created a sensational atmosphere, which he believes is unique in the world.
After Szalai, the Hungarian national team’s manager Marco Rossi also spoke out, expressing his sadness at the developments. “When Ádám announced that he was leaving the national team, I had a lot on my mind. I have thought a lot about the situation since he told me his decision. It’s not a happy moment from a personal point of view or for the national team,” Rossi said.
The national captain added, however, that the good memories will remain and that he is sympathetic to Szalai’s decision, even if it causes them a huge problem.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also acknowledged Szalai’s retirement and posted a picture on his Facebook page with the football player, thanking him for his work on the team. As Mr. Orbán wrote: Ádám Szalai is “our gladiator.”
Featured photo via MTI/Kovács Tamás/Szigetváry Zsolt