As featured on NewsNow: Football news

Marco Rossi exclusive: Stunning England; ignored by Italy; Premier League talks & praise from Lucescu

For the majority of fans, particularly those who give European football just a cursory glance, the consistent success of Marco Rossi might always appear a surprise, but the reality is he's been coaching at a high level for over a decade...

From Honved to the bench of Hungary, Rossi continues to grow as a coach. Under his leadership, Hungary are now achieving impressive results, including victories over England (twice) and Germany.

And after the latest round of international games, Rossi was good enough to sit down with and discuss Hungary's progress - along with his own coaching ambitions.

Ask for thoughts on the victory over the Germans, Rossi says: “It was definitely a huge victory, among the most prestigious ones I've achieved. I wouldn't overlook the two victories against England we had last June, especially the biggest one, a truly historic outcome. They hadn't lost with a similar result in a home game since 1928. It was also a milestone for us because we hadn't won against England since 1953, during the Golden Team years."

It was something historical, which lifted the profile of both Hungary and himself throughout Europe.

"Honestly I didn't have much time to think about the result, because we had to immediately play against Italy and we lost. We played well against the Azzurri too, unfortunately we committed too many errors and you immediately regret them when playing against strong teams like those."

Asked if there was any congratulations from people inside Italian football, Rossi added: "I didn't hear from anyone in Italy."

In 2012, Rossi arrived in the nation that changed his life, in every sense. But how much has Hungarian football changed since his arrival?

"In the past 10 years a lot changed in Hungary: the infrastructures got a lot better but the league didn't change much honestly. If anything back then there used to be more balance, now Ferencvaros basically play a league of their own, while all the other teams are way behind. All things considered I think things got a little bit better but the results the national team is achieving go way beyond the most optimistic expectations. Even if said expectations are and will always be beyond the true potential."

Is Hungary's reputation changing thanks to his work?

"Those results definitely helped improve Hungary's reputation and general respect from the rest of Europe, but I don't think there have been massive changes about me. Nothing in particular changed that much."

Asked about what could tempt him to leave his team, Rossi answered: "I believe that about 90 people out of 100 appreciate the work I'm doing with the team, here in Hungary. Of course there will also be a 10% who will always be against what I do no matter what, but generally speaking I think I'm perceived as a good manager here in Hungary.

"Right now I don't see any reason to leave, I have a contract until 2025 and I don't expect to leave before that date. But if there's a league that attracts me, that is the Premier League..."

Indeed, for years Rossi has relied on the consultancy of Giuliani Sports, a sports agency founded by Nicola Giuliani, which recently moved offices to London. And with his profile increasing, offers from England are now being fielded.

“I think every single professional would like to work in the Premier League. After the Euros campaign I had the chance to speak with two English boards, one from the Championship and one from the Premier, but ultimately I decided to decline because I was convinced that staying here would have been for the best.

"Although it's not automatic that those talks would have resulted in an offer.".

While English interest grows - and even if he's obtaining incredible results with Hungary - the former Sampdoria and Brescia defender hasn't been contacted by any Serie A club or director.

"No contacts as of this day. Not from Sampdoria nor any other club. Right now there haven't been any contacts."

In the past, Rossi played for Romanian legend Mircea Lucescu at Brescia. The Italian admits his coaching is influenced greatly by his former manager. Indeed, the pair have spoken since those great results against Germany and England.

“I spoke with Mircea, he was very kind and supportive. He complimented me for what we are doing and he said he is an admirer. He talked about me many times and always in flattering terms.

"Mircea and (Marcelo) Bielsa influenced the way I see football and the way I work. I think I took my attention to details and the meticulous study of our opponents from him."

To wrap up the interview, we asked if there were specific Hungarian players that he is particularly proud to have trained or discovered. As ever, Rossi was eager to deflect any praise to the playing group.

“I think about the percentage of the national team that's changed since 2018, many new players debuted with me. Of course the merit is all theirs: beside watching them, calling them and organising them we don't do much else, since (as national team coaches) we don't have much time to work with the team."

Video of the day:

Matteo Vitale
About the author

Matteo Vitale

Have your say

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

  1. Go Ad-Free
  2. Faster site experience
  3. Support great writing
  4. Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free

Subscribe and go ad-free

For only $10 a year

Subscribe now
Launch Offer: 2 months free