What Viktor Orbán is to politics, Balázs Dzuzzák is to football: the biggest promise and the biggest disappointment. When Dzuzdsák became a classic in the PSV Eindhoven team between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five, he was surrounded by the same hopes as Viktor Orbán, whose commitment to the West was unquestionable, around the same time. The more ambitious and naive Hungarians excitedly waited for the excellent left winger to join the team of which stable participant of which European top league, just as they excitedly awaited Hungary’s burgeoning, consolidation and modernization – with a similar result. Balázs Dzudzsák’s financially motivated career decisions resulted in the bitterest disillusionment of a generation: the Hungarians had to learn club names that they had never heard before during the midfielder’s further club changes. First, that of Anzsi Makhachkala, compared to which the name of Dinamo Moskva already sounded familiar, if not very confidence-inspiring. Not so the Turkish Bursaspor, to which Dzúdzák’s path led from Moscow. The midfielder chose the United Arab Emirates as his next stop, but the Hungarians had no trouble memorizing the club names of al-Wahda, al-Ittihad and el-Ajn: they simply saw Dzúdzsák as a permanent member of the Hungarian national team. The person who spoke out about how shamefully the classic of Hungarian football, who has been waiting for decades, is wasting his career, was told that “he did the right thing by taking the money” and that “if he breaks his leg or tears a ligament, and that’s the end of career, he didn’t sign the contract of his life, so you’re going to pay him this money?”
Satisfied with their bargains, the Hungarians, whose parents sold their freedom for a bowl of goulash soup on the first of May 1957, very much approved of Balázs Dzudzsák’s decisions,
and they did not manage to fabricate exculpatory ideologies for him, since if such a great man proves to be so unworthy of his abilities and opportunities, then they, the saddened and destroyed Hungarians who were forced into colonial rule in their own country, really had no choice but to fall into the bloody hands of the spine-bending power at the right moment to strike When Dzudzsák wrecked a Lamborghini Aventador on the M3 highway, the Hungarians felt that this luxury was a little too much for them. They were proud of him because they didn’t look like themselves anymore.
Viktor Orbán and his prey, Hungary, stepped on the Eurasian path in parallel with Balázs Dzudzsák. The Hungarians not only learned the folk name “kipcak”, but also learned about the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, and Viktor Orbán, throwing a tantrum at the linguistic consensus, self-consciously declared that “we live in Hungary, we are Hungarians, we speak Hungarian, this is a unique and a peculiar language related to the Turkic languages”. The prime minister made the Hungarians who were irritated with the West even more proud when he flattered the president of his brother Kazakhstan with the following words. “I would like to congratulate the great friend of the Kipchaks, President Nazarbayev, on the high award. Not everyone present knows, but there are Kipchaks in Hungary. Many Hungarians have Kipchak blood. They have their own self-government. And President Nazarbayev is also the current president of the Hungarian Kipchak tribes. We also send him a message every year when there is an annual meeting of the Kipchaks in Hungary.” Well, when the prime minister of one of the member states of the European Union and NATO puts it this way, it is roughly equivalent to a twenty-five-year-old PSV Eindhoven footballer moving to Anzi Makhachkala instead of Arsenal, Lazio, Sevilla or Borussia Dortmund.
In the West, the market expects performance: from Balázs Dzudzsák, deadly training sessions and deadly competitions, from Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, and the competitiveness of the economy. The eastern path promises easier success: feudalism instead of capitalism, athletic training instead of tracksuits and training pants, plus the same cool Lamborghini that Western soccer players get – even better. Why should Dzudzsák and Orbán and their Hungary throw their guts out in a competition that does not respect our traditions?
We Hungarians don’t like to compete, because we’re not coolies, but gentlemen who don’t mind making a good living from the donations of even bigger gentlemen – may the world forgive us!
Viktor Orbán joined Moscow in the same way that Balázs Dzúdzák joined Dynamo Moscow: freedom may come from the West, but freedom comes with responsibility – on the other hand, the gas and oil coming from the East means the safety of the benevolent, protective-fearing hands of the Kremlin and the FSB, which for us , Hungarians are really getting along now. Compete in Europe with the many libans – our homeland is in Asia.
When Orbán and Dzudzsák accidentally ran into each other in front of a hotel in Budapest a couple of years ago, the prime minister enthusiastically persuaded the midfielder to finally return home and perform at his court tournament in the future. “You could come home now. I don’t know what you are looking for in Arabs. There was already enough. Don’t do anything there! Come home now! Well no? We also like good football, but that requires a good football player. Come home!” Well, perhaps it is not an insult to state that these arguments were not specifically fueled by professional aspects of sports, but at least they expressed Viktor Orbán’s fatherly love and respect for the footballer who best reflected his eastward, illiberal orientation with his career decisions. In 2020, Balázs Dzudzsák yielded to the prime minister’s call and returned home to his training club as if he had already completed his international career, rather than having managed it for nine years, and in the space of a feudal system bent on itself, he soon became a living legend of domestic football and the leader of the Hungarian national team.
The fact that the illiberal regime makes Balázs Dzudzsák the national team record holder of Viktor Orbán and the Hungarians’ favorite sport exemplifies more than anything else the counter-selective nature of domestic neglect and contempt for performance. And the fact that the press workers of the Orbán system celebrate the summit decision by waving their hats, as if they were paying tribute to a József Bozsik, a Ferenc Puskás, an Albert Flórián or a Ferenc Bene, indicates that they are ready to falsify anyone into whatever their boss points out. One of them, Milán Constantinovits, called Dzudzsák the most influential Hungarian footballer of the past twenty years, but László Szabó, the deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Sports of the first Orbán government, ventured even further from reality in his flattery, who described the midfielder’s career as an outstanding international career and stated that Dzudzsák he would have fit into any of the Hungarian national teams of the past seventy years – and because the data do not lie, this means that
According to László Szabó, Balázs Dzudzsák would have pushed Zoltán Czibor out of the Golden Team in his prime. Well, this statement is not merely indefensible, but it is almost as barbaric as if László Szabó drank red wine cola from a holy water tank with a straw.
Any Hungarian who follows football can hardly doubt that the privilege of the national team record is not for Balázs Dzudzsák’s football performance, but for his legendary friendship with Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó – that is why the national summit decision is a gift, more precisely a fiefdom. Feudalism is not capitalism: here the football stars should not play football, but be friends with powerful lords, and then they can reject Sándoros Kocsis, Lajos Tichy and Nándoros Hidegkuti behind them, even without results.
The author is a critic and publicist.
Opinion articles do not necessarily reflect the position of the Index editors.
(Cover image: Balázs Dzudsák of FC Dinamo Moscow during a Premier League match at Arena Khimki Stadium on April 12, 2013 in Russia. Photo: Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)