Hungarian National Team coach Marco Rossi, born in Druento, Italy in 1964, took the Hungarian Oath of Citizenship and received the document granting him citizenship at the Sándor Palace, the presidential residence in Budapest, Hungary, on Tuesday, 3 October. President Katalin Novák, Minister of Defence Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, and MLSZ Chairman Sándor Csányi were also present at the celebratory ceremony.
President Novák lauded Rossi’s achievements as head of the National Team, saying:
‘The fact that teenagers can be avid fans of the National [Football] Team, in an age when it is fashionable to idolize major international stars, is a great achievement in itself. We all remember the days when, under the direction of Marco Rossi, we were delivering great results at the European Championship partially hosted by Budapest,’ as quoted by the Hungarian sports daily Nemzeti Sport.
Here, the President is referring to the Euro 2020 competition, postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, where Hungary managed to tie the defending World Champions at the time, France, and Germany as well.
That may not even be the biggest feat Rossi’s Hungary have ever accomplished. In June 2022, they beat England 4–0 in a historic win in a UEFA Nations League match-up,
beating the English on their home turf for the first time since the legendary 6–3 win by the Puskás-led side in November 1953.
In a recent interview with the international sports magazine World Soccer, Rossi has talked about the warm sentiments he has towards our country, even before he officially became a citizen. He said:
‘I like the Hungarian people and the way they show respect. I feel at home there, I will be grateful to Hungary for the rest of my life. This is where I got the opportunity to become a coach, to save my dignity at a time when I was deeply depressed. I am sure I will always have some connection to the country.’
Marco Rossi’s Stellar Coaching Career in Hungary
As a footballer, Marco Rossi spent most of his career playing for teams in Serie B, the second division of Italian football, as a defender. The peak of his footballing career was at the Serie A side Sampdoria, with whom he also won the Coppa Italia in 1994.
He got his first job in Hungary in August 2012, when he was appointed as head coach at Budapest Honvéd.
He often talked about how his father was a big fan of Ferenc Puskás, so coaching the legendary Hungarian footballer’s former team meant a lot to him. He remained in his position until his dismissal in April 2014.
However, Rossi was called back to coach Honvéd once again in February 2015, a decision that turned out to be a phenomenal one by the team management. In 2017, Rossi managed to win the Hungarian Championship with Honvéd, which was the first time the club got the title in 14 years. They haven’t won it since, and they are currency playing in the second division.
Later that year, he was bought out of his contract with Honvéd by FC DAC 1904, the football club of the town of Dunaszerdahely (Dunajská Streda) a majority-Hungarian town in Slovakia. His great performance there convinced the leadership of the Hungarian football association (MLSZ) to trust him with coaching the National Team, which was going through a rough period at the time.
While Rossi began his career leading the Hungarian side with a 1–0 loss against Finland, what followed after surpassed even the wildest expectations.
Hungary qualified for Euro 2020 where they tied France and Germany, as referenced by President Novák above; and also made it to the top tier of the UEFA Nations League where they beat England back-to-back, and triumphed over Germany in Leipzig as well.
What’s more, with three wins and one draw in four games. Hungary are leading their qualifying group, and are well positioned to go to Euro 2024 in Germany.