Daniel Hajdár‘s name is probably unknown to most of you, but the 20-year-old Hungarian football player tries to do his best to change this.
Born in Gyor, Hungary, the young man quickly fell in love with football, and, despite his young age, he’s already earned a lot of experience in the sport. In 2009, he was a player of Gyori Dózsa SE, and after that for six years in the colours of Gyori ETO, he entered the football field. He then attended the Miklós Fehér Football Academy in his hometown and went to Slovakia to play as a quarterback for KFC Komárno and FC Neded. His great Slovak and English language skills helped him thereas well.
The successful start can be a huge jumping bar in every field, especially for those who work hard. However, the young player still had to undergo a trial, namely, he was sent home from Sopron in the very last moment of the transfer window.
Still, Dan didn’t give up his biggest dream, since many people support him. In this uncertain period of time, his friend Jeno Máthé helped him find a suitable football team. Jeno is only 18 years old but already managed to carry out full-fledged agency work. Previously, Dan’s friend also played football, but finally, he chose another field – he found it more important to support other talented players in their career.
The other day, we sat down with both Daniel and Jeno to find out more about their joint work and the Hungarian football.
Read our interview with them below to find out what Dan told us about how he managed to continue the work for his dream, and how he can imagine his future.
Daniel, have you always wanted to be a footballer?
“Yes, I’ve always wanted to become a professional footballer.”
So, was there nothing else in your plans?
“Nothing else was in my plans because I’ve trained since I was very young just to get the chance at a bigger team. Also, this was the reason of why I chose the Miklós Fehér Football Academy.”
In fact, your career began with Gyori ETO. How do you look back on the time you spent there?
“Yes, I received my first major opportunity in football back then. Before I played for Gyori ETO I played football in Gyorszentiván, also for Gyori Dózsa, where I got so many great memories. Thanks to the coaches there I improved a lot, enough to sign a contract with Gyori ETO, and that is why I am grateful to them to this day. To the time I spent at Gyori ETO, I always look back with pride. I could learn a lot of things at the club since I could get ready for league matches under professional circumstances. I can also say that I got the opportunity to introduce myself as the club’s key player at the youth Hungarian national team, and I signed my first professional contract. When I think of the time I spent there, it makes me proud and self-confident, I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to attend a real elite academy.”
What technique did you master at the Academy?
“I developed the short passes and the combined ball recovery because this was how our coaches wanted us to play. We practised a lot on the defensive movements, as well as the positioning, and I think my tackles have been my strength since then.”
You had a total of 157 appearances in the age-group teams. Could you mention a match that stood out for you from the rest for some reason?
“Perhaps a game against Honvéd’s U18. It was 0-1, but then in the 80th minute, after a corner, I bombarded the ball from about 25 yards and equalised. That was a frenetic moment!”
Tell us about the Hungarian football.
“Lately, it has developed in the right direction! They pay attention to the training of juniors, and that’s a matter of time, but it will bring success. It’s good to see that the current head coach of the national team gladly tries to put the young talents into the senior national team, providing them with extra motivation to impress. Regardless of age, they can be there. Every player’s greatly appreciated when they’re counted on to the senior national team.”
You even got the chance to take a glance at this sport in another country, too. What are the differences?
“Abroad, in Slovakia, I have experienced that mentally, players want to do their best, bring out the maximum. They’re much more humble, and from the first minute to the last, they do everything for their club and the supporters. During training, they work hard and constantly train so that they can improve their weaknesses. In my view, it’s crucial that they try to live the life of a professional athlete 24 hours per day. Without adequate sleep, eating, exercise and regeneration the work done is worth nothing!”
You worked a lot, but your career became uncertain from one day to another. Would you tell us how it happened?
“In early January, my friend Jeno called me because he arranged a trial game with the team Soproni VSE. I liked the idea, so the next day I joined in preparation for winter. A few days later I played on a training match against Nitra. We agreed on all the details, then I’d have had to sign the contract. The Executive-Director gave me the contract, but unfortunately, in the absence of some papers I wasn’t able to actually sign it; my work permit would have arrived only weeks later. I was still relaxed to know that they wanted to sign me because they also sent a declaration of intent to Jeno. During the training camp in Cyprus, I played in every single match, and I was happy to know about the trust of the master. The club, however, wasn’t able to deal with the confirmation then. We inquired at the team, but we were still told to wait. They said that with time everything will be all right. On 8 February, the Executive called me after training and said that referring to the shortage of funds, they don’t count me as a player. It hit me really hard because I already felt as a team member. In the final stages of the transfer window, there was no other team in my mind.”
It’s unbelievable! However, in spite of this, you don’t give up and continue to fight, right?
“For me right now this period is very difficult because I suddenly fell from heaven to hell. The reasons for it are still incomprehensible to me. Still, I’m one of those people who stand up after hard times. Yes, I’m fighting on!”
Yet, it’s hard to move on. How could you do that?
“I tried to encourage myself, and now I just want to think of the most positive things. I train a lot and I develop myself mentally. At the moment, the most important is that not to fall apart.”
Who supported you in this difficult situation?
“My family has always stayed by my side. They are supporting and encouraging me, even after this situation. They do anything to help me reach my goal. I am very thankful to them, and I hope I’ll be able to give back everything that they’ve done for me.”
“In January, there were requests from a few other clubs. I turned them down, saying, I’ve found my team. I currently don’t know where I’ll continue my career because it’s impossible to find a team of high quality that is suitable for a 20-year-old guy in such a short time.”
Perhaps it would be better to choose a team abroad. Do you have plans like this?
“Of course, there are such plans! Now I’m working hard to sign for a team abroad for a longer period. With this, I’d like to prove myself to the Hungarian football and those who did not believe in me.”
Football nowadays has become a business. What do you think will be the effects?
“It’s already noticeable that football is a kind of a business. The aim of the people is to make more and more profit out of it. Sadly, I feel that it destroys the beauty of football, even if everyone is fond of this sport because it’s just beautiful.”
How hard is it to emerge from the crowd?
“There are so many great football players in the world. You can emerge only if you try to live the life of a professional athlete in the 24 hours of a day, and you motivate yourself to keep doing that.”
Is there someone whom you would consider as your idol?
“Maybe it’s going to sound weird, but I guess my idol is Bence Mervó. We played together in Gyor, and I admire him because he showed me we can stand up after all the damage and disappointment. And he showed me we can achieve a lot in a short time if we work a lot and we are strong in mind. He taught me we can stand up from anywhere, and success can be achieved.”
What do you want to achieve as a footballer?
“Once I’d like to show myself in a prestigious championship abroad in Germany or Spain.”
Well, we are rooting for you! What would you say to those who want to follow the same path?
“Anything happens to you, let your beliefs and dreams motivate you. Any obstacles can be overcome, and after every disappointment, you have to stand up, because it strengthens you. It may take a year or four, but if you do everything for your dreams, sooner or later the fortune will knock at your door, and then you must be ready!”
Jeno, when and how did you meet Dan?
“One October morning my phone rang; a friend of mine called me, which didn’t surprise me because we talked a lot, often by telephone. Quickly he outlined the situation, what and who he wanted to talk about. I had arranged things like that regionally, but it was something new to take a young, ambitious guy to the professional sport. I just felt that I could do it, however, I just dared to promise to do my best. Still, I feel that it’s not depending particularly on me. During almost a half year I got to know a great sportsman that is Daniel.”
Is he easy to work with?
“Absolutely. In everything, I ask him his opinion, because, c’mon, it’s only about his future. From the very beginning, I’ve paid attention to getting to know him better, you know, to find out what his goals and expectations are. Now I can dare to make a quick decision about him, and it’s easier. Before the winter preparation, I had helped him in his individual workout program for two weeks. I couldn’t have complained about his attitude!”
How do you see his future?
“Everyone has to work hard for their future. In the last two and a half years he’s been disappointed with the sport and he’s been significantly undervalued, but every day he trains to develop and to show everyone he’s worth it. Leicester skipper Wes Morgan reached the top of his career at the age of 32, with not a few work and will.”
How’s he worn out by this precarious situation?
“As much as me. I wanted to arrange him trial games at three clubs, but I received negative responses from two of them. The third club was the Soproni VSE. The last period of time he spent there was pretty chaotic for several reasons. Ultimately he failed to sign a professional contract during the winter transfer window.”
How much work did it mean to you?
“The time I spend with the sport I never consider as work. I would’ve never been a professional footballer, but I knew that I could help others who trust in me. I could help two very talented young boys to get into youth teams, where they can develop and fight for their dreams. As a 20-year-old, Dan will not be able to be a member of a supported team, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get more opportunities at professional teams.”
What is it that motivates you?
“I’d rather answer in two parts, as we both do completely different things. Dan’s most important task in the coming period will definitely be the search for motivation. He will get his second chance and he’ll live with it because it didn’t depend on him this time. As for me, the thing is a bit more complex. On the one hand it motivates me that I can help others, but on the other hand, I want to prove to others and myself. I’d like to show that in spite of my young age I am able to perform such a stressful job, and I am not who I seem at first sight. If my work can do anything for the quality improvement of the Hungarian football just a little, then it was worth to give up everything else.”