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2023. Augusztus 12. 12:51  -  David Rechnitzer
Balázs Tóth: "I would like to help the club get back to where Vidi belongs"

Our young goalkeeper excelled at scoring goals until the age of ten, when he turned things upside down. First he was recruited to play in goal, then at the age of 12 he moved to the other side of the country.

- How old were you when you started playing and why did you choose football as a child?

I was about four when I started learning the basics of football as a pre-schooler. For a relatively long time, until I was about ten, I played outfield, and I never thought of becoming a goalkeeper, even though my father was a goalkeeper in the NB II and my cousin was also a keeper. So I was a striker until I was ten years old, I loved playing and scoring goals. I went to primary school in Zubogy and we had a small-sided game that we won 11-0 and I scored all the goals. Now, at that time I had no idea that I would make a living as an adult by stopping opponents from scoring goals (laughs).

- How did such a young striker with such a high scoring record end up in goal?

I joined Kazincbarcika's youth team when I was ten years old, and I was actually approached right after I scored 11 goals in a friendly. Of course, they didn't take me as a goalkeeper, but I had to go in goal during one of the training sessions - I can't remember why exactly. What I do remember crystal clear is that we were training on clay, I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and, of course, I didn't have goalkeeper's gloves. My first coach, István Szabó, who put me in goal at the end of training, told me that I would be in goal because he saw a lot of things in me. From then on I became a goalkeeper.

- Do you regret that your fate turned out that way and you became a goalkeeper instead of a striker?

I can honestly say that running wasn't my strong point (laughs). The joy of scoring goals was a great feeling, but even so, I have to say that the best thing that happened to me was when they put me in goal.

- Who was your favourite football player as a child?

Cristiano Ronaldo is still my favourite player to this day, and Iker Casillas was the goalkeeper I looked up to as a role model. 

- How did you get from Borsod to Felcsút? Was it difficult to leave your parents' house when you were still at primary school?

Oh yes, it was! I was 12 years old when several scouts were present at a U13 match and I was invited to a trial based on my performance. At the first trial, 120 children attended with me, at the second one there were fewer of us and finally the Puskás Academy signed me and another boy from Kazincbarcika, but he doesn't play football anymore. Obviously, it couldn't have been an easy decision for my parents to let me go to the other side of the country at such a young age, but as they saw in me how much I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, they finally let me go to Felcsút. The first two years were also very difficult for me, not only because I was away from my family, but also from my friends. I literally gave up everything as a little kid to become a professional footballer!

- In football today, it is rare to spend more than a decade at the same club.

Look, I don't want to use big words, but I spent almost half my life in Felcsút, where I grew from a child into a grown man, from a little footballer to a first division footballer. I got a very good grounding at the academy, I had great coaches and goalkeeping coaches, to whom I am eternally grateful. I must definitely mention the name of István Mitring, the former good goalkeeper of Vidi, who was my goalkeeping coach at the Puskás Academy for many years in the youth team, but I also owe a lot to Zoltán Deli, Péter Molnár, Sandro Tomic, Ádám Vezér and Szabolcs Balajcza. There are really a lot of former excellent goalkeepers who have helped me to keep improving. I was able to learn something from all of them that made me more as a goalkeeper and as a person. 

- Throughout your career so far, what are the achievements you are most proud of?

With the U15s we won the Nike Cup, the final of which was here in Székesfehérvár in the old Sóstói Stadium. We won the U17 championship with a record number of points, I played twice in the Puskás-Suzuki Cup and we also qualified for the Youth Champions League twice, so I really achieved a lot of good results with Puskás Academy.

- Your NB I debut is no ordinary story.

It's true, I made my debut in the top flight on the 14th March 2020 in a Mezőkövesd - PAFC match in the 40th minute of the match, when the team's then number one goalkeeper, Lajos Hegedüs, was injured. I managed to concede no goals in my first NB I game and we were due to play Ferencváros the following week, but then due to COVID the league was suspended for two months. By the time the league restarted, Lajos Hegedüs had recovered, but head coach Zsolt Hornyák still went for me in the team when the COVID restarted, so I'm very grateful to him.

- You performed well, were named Goalkeeper of the Year the following season and were invited to the national team. 

It's true, everyone dreams of such a start. Fortunately, I had my moments, I won the goalkeeper of the week several times, and in 2021 I was voted the best goalkeeper in the sports daily's rankings. These are all important feedbacks, but I consider myself a team player and although goalkeeping is a separate sport within football, for me the success of the team is always the most important. When I think back to the national team invitation, my heart still beats faster than ever, and I felt a happiness that is hard to put into words. The best feeling of all was the immense joy and pride I gave to my family and loved ones. I hope to have the opportunity to start the national team with my name on the starting line-up one day, which is one of the reasons why I work so hard every day. 

- Was it a difficult decision to leave the Puskás Academy, because really, as you said, you spent half your life there?

Last season, when I first heard about Vidi's interest, I was already on the bench at Felcsút and I would have come to Vidi immediately, because although I really owe a lot to the Puskás Academy, I wanted to play. Now the negotiations have finally come to an end and I am very happy to be here at Vidi. I'm proud to be a player at a club with such a glorious history, cheered on week in, week out by fantastic fans. My main goal is to get myself into the team as quickly as possible and help the club get back to where Vidi belongs in the foreseeable future.

Fehérvár FC - Minden jog fenntartva
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