The Re-Blossoming of Szabolcs Huszti

After arriving back in Hannover earlier this summer, Szabolcs Huszti has had a tremendous re-start to his time back in Germany. In 9 competitive games this season he already has 4 goals and 6 assists, with 2 of those goals and 5 of those assists coming in the Bundesliga.

Huszti, who grew up in Miskolc, Hungary, started his career at Hungarian giants Ferencvaros in 2002 making one appearance before being loaned out to second division Sopron at the age of 20. He performed well at the now defunct club playing 14 times, scoring 6 goals, and the following season immediately established himself as a regular starter at Fradi.

A first full season in NBI did wonders to Huszti’s ability and confidence, and his superb crossing ability and tricky feet seemed to be too much for Hungarian defenders. Inevitably, it wasn’t long before his performances were attracting interest from clubs further afield and the national team. He went on to play 12 games for the Magyars whilst playing in Hungary, netting on his debut against Japan and scoring a memorable goal at Hampden Park in a 3-0 victory over Scotland. Amidst interest from Rangers and West Brom, the then left wing back Huszti chose Metz of Ligue 1 as his club of choice.

Huszti’s time at Metz was not a great success, and after playing 18 games – scoring one goal – the Hungarian was again on the move after Les Grenats were relegated to Ligue 2 for the first time since 2002. This time Hannover came calling; the catalyst to Huszti’s career.

Die Roten had finished a disappointing 12th the season before, and the €250,000 acquisition of Huszti was intended to bring some much-needed flair to the Hannover side. Szabi’s versatility was also a major factor in the move as he could play at left back, left wing, right wing or even behind the striker. A very handy acquisition for a side who didn’t exactly light up the Bundesliga in the 05/06 season.

The Hungarian made his first start on Matchday One, and became a permanent fixture in the side playing 31 games, scoring 4 goals – including a memorable winner against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

His next season was to be even better for 96 as he established himself as a key member of the squad, and one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga. His form was superb, and in 33 league games, he netted 10 times.

Unfortunately for Hungary, his club form never quite lived up to the expectations which many had of him. Szabi went missing in too many games for the Magyars and was also in the side which were defeated 2-1 by Malta in a Euro 2008 qualifying game. The discontent from the fans was quite widespread, and the emerging talent of Balazs Dzsudzsak was threatening Huszti position on the international scene. Things could only get better they say?

At the start of the 2008/09 season, Huszti was becoming quite a star, and interest was becoming quite widespread. However, the Hungarian decided to stay put at Hannover but he wasn’t quite able to match up to his performances of the previous season. By the New Year, Zenit and Celtic were very interested in the flying winger and a €2.5million bid from the Russian giants was swiftly accepted making him the perfect replacement for Arsenal-bound, Andrei Arshavin.

Unfortuately for Huszti, things weren’t to work out that way as he only became a bit-part player in Russia. His first season at Zenit was probably his most successful, individually, as he went on to make 19 appearances, scoring 2 goals, but things would get a whole lot more frustrating.

The acquisition of Lazovic and Kerzhakov at the start of the 2010 season saw Huszti drop right down the pecking order, and even though Zenit went on to win the league, Huszti’s playing time was sporadic, and an irritated figure was starting to boil.

In October of the same year, Huszti’s playing time for the Hungarian national team had come to an immediate halt. An open letter was published by the former Ferencvaros man, who was seething about the introduction of more Hungarian domestic players into the Hungary setup (who he didn’t think should merit a call-up). He instantly retired from the national team, citing that he didn’t like the current atmosphere around the national team and that he wanted to concentrate on his club career.

But the following season, his club career was to get no better. Huszti managed 26 appearances for Zenit, the vast majority as sub, and an exit from the Russian champions was all but certain come the end of the long Russian Premier League.

In July this year, Szabolcs Huszti was again announced as a Hannover player after three infuriating years away. He made his second debut for the club in a Europa League qualifier against St. Patricks, and his home debut a week later setting up Haggui’s 32 minute goal.

On the 28th August he was back in Bundesliga action with a 20 minute cameo against Schalke before he was back in the starting XI the following week against Wolfsburg where he set up all the goals for Hannover in their 4-0 win. 7 days later, Huszti reminded fans of what they’d been missing as he scored a superb bicycle kick in the last-minute against rivals Werder Bremen to secure a memorable 3-2 victory.  Huszti again stood out in Hannover’s impressive 4-1 win over Nürnberg, setting up two and scoring another himself.  The Hungarian has been involved in 13 of Hannover’s goals in 9 starts this year.

Things are looking up again for Huszti, and his re-start to his Bundesliga career makes you ask why did he ever leave? Unfortunately, his time with Hungary seems to be at an end but there’s still plenty to be optimistic about, as the 29-year-old starts to hit his twilight years.

Read more on Hungarian football on Tomasz’s excellent blog, HungarianFootball.com! The Fanatic would like to thank Tom for the time and effort he has put into writing this article. 

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