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28/07/1937: Árpádfy interviews Sindelar
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-11-20 14:21:45
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
A CONVERSATION WITH SINDELAR
THE FOOTBALLER, THE FILM ACTOR, THE MAN, THE GUEST
— Jenő Árpádfy | 28/07/1937 —
Sindelar, the most famous football star in Central Europe, a favourite of Vienna, is now a popular guest of Budapest and an interesting tourist attraction. When we caught him at the hotel in Dunaparte, he was protecting himself from the public eye:
Sindelar: Yes, I am here, but only as a private person.
We took note. Even on Tuesday morning, we spoke to him like this in a very guttural tone on the lively terrace of the Danube Park. In the comfortable cushioned chairs, in the pleasant Danube-side air, to the soft music of cutlery, we talked to Sindelar.
Sindelar: Oh, I'm having a great time in Budapest. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to really enjoy the beauty and amenities of Budapest. After all, we left immediately after the matches. Until then, a sporting lifestyle prevented me from exploring the fun side of Budapest.
We refrained from the obligatory "tourist question", but Sindelar explained it willingly and enthusiastically:
Sindelar: I must say, I had no idea Budapest had so much beauty.
Let's acknowledge the compliment on behalf of Budapest and write that Sindelar is having a very, very good time in Budapest. These are unforgettable days in Budapest for him, he says.
In the course of the general conversation, the details of the sportsman's private life are discussed. Marriage, for example, or the question of celibacy. Sindelar protests:
Sindelar: No, I'm not married. No, I am thirty-four years old and unmarried. Whether I will get married in my lifetime is a question I cannot answer with either yes or no. For the moment I am unmarried and carefree.
At this moment, the dour Sindi jumps up in a dignified manner and greets the lady coming to our table with a salute, echt weanerisch, pretty and young. She takes a seat at our table and the three of us continue our conversation.
We are on the footballer's private life. This time we are talking about Sindelar's private life. Or rather, he did:
Sindelar: You work and save. I'm an official in a large Viennese company. When I'm no longer playing football, I'm going to put all my energy at the disposal of the company. But I think they are satisfied with me now.
— How much longer do you want to play football?
Sindelar: God, as long as I can. Of course, here in Europe there are false notions about the age of a footballer. In England we've seen footballers over forty who are still big guns. Just to mention Brook, the national team winger.
And then we come to F.K. Austria.
Sindelar: It's usually said that F.K. Austria has too many old players. But there are no more than are absolutely necessary. I've also heard that a lot of the old ones were drowned out on Sunday against the younger Ferencváros and that's why we lost.
He makes a protesting gesture, offering the smiling Viennese lady a delicious, white, crispy cake. (The attentive, cavalier and smiling knight is now the wimpy Sindi. He looks good in this role too.)
Sindelar: As for old age, well, that's nonsense. In our forward line, Riegler is 21, Stroh 24, Jerusalem 25 (the maximum). Neumer is 18-19 years old, Blutjung. I'm the only one over 30.
» I'm not old. Nausch, Mock and Sesta are in their thirties... I'll tell you something. Whenever it came to a decisive match, it was always the good play of the old men that decided the game in Austria's favour. That's how it is now. Routine, experience, overview are necessary in the team. What would happen to my young forwards if I wasn't in the middle. You have to keep them together, control them, calm them down when they get excited. Believe me, you need the "old" experienced leader!
We've awkwardly avoided talking about Sunday so far. Now Sindelar himself cannot avoid the subject. He throws himself back in his comfortable cane chair.
Sindelar: What was Sunday? Even I still don't understand how it was possible. And I've thought about it a lot.
Suddenly, he turned to us with this question:
Sindelar: Tell me, are you very happy in Budapest? Are they very happy?
We reassure Sindelar that the miracle in Budapest lasts for three days and today is the third day.
Sindelar: Well! It's a big thing, however you look at it. It just doesn't make sense to me. The team was in great shape. And even if the front line had been completely banged up, our defence shouldn't have conceded six goals.
— There are rumours and gossip that some of the Austria players went out on a Saturday night and had a good time.
Sindelar's face is so astonished that we are almost frightened. Then he replied angrily, pressing the table:
Sindelar: Do you know how much financial interest the players have in playing the Mitropa Cup final in Vienna?! A full stadium! A huge bonus!!! They have no idea how much... There is no way a single player will do it! Ah, vile slander or malicious gossip!...
The Dunaparte boarding-school has been livened up in the meantime. The sun has soaked up the mist from the dome of the royal palace and, to the lady's astonished exclamation, Sindelar is looking on. He admires the panorama of Buda for a moment, then quietly remarks:
Sindelar: Herrlich!... But the people are very bad. And no matter how much we swear, we're still talking about football. And now I want to rest. Tell me, do you know of any nice and pleasant places near Lake Balaton. Is it true that the water is so pleasant?
— Anyway, you're going there tomorrow because the filming starts.
Sindelar, as a film actor... He laughs and explains:
Sindelar: You know, it's not that dangerous. The German version of the film, in Hungarian and German, is called Roxy und ihr Wunderteam. I play the football star in the German version. Toldi plays the Hungarian version. But it's called 3:1 for love. Anyway, it's not that big, it's not that serious, this whole film acting thing. A few scenes and that's it. At least you're not on holiday with your own money. He'll earn the cost of the holiday. They already shot some footage of me and Toldi yesterday at the Fradi field.
Now we're back to football. Toldi, the film co-star. Sindelar said with a laugh:
Sindelar: I have now experienced for myself what a cute kid this Toldi is in private life. And what a match he makes on the field! Just like Sesta. You know, I saw it on Sunday, Táncos ran with the ball, passed it in, dangerously even to him, in front of our goal. I see, where's Toldi? Well, there he was, fighting with Stroh across the half-court. And what a goal-scoring chance he could have had there...
— What kind of footballer do you think Toldi is?
Sindelar: Extremely useful. Indispensable in the forward line of Ferencváros. The power with which he bursts out and the magnificent dribbles he gave Kemény that you just had to run in with him... In the second half, he was the decisive factor in the victory of Ferencváros.
— Speaking of which, tell us something about Hungarian footballers. Who do you consider the best player? Who do you know and how do you know them?
Sindelar: Well, it's hard for me to answer that. I only get to see Hungarian players on a few occasions. Dr. Sárosi's great class is undeniable. His Hungarian preeminence cannot be disputed. And only then will it be great... Because a centre-forward has to mature. You can't be a 100% centre-forward when you're young. You need a lot of experience, composure, overview and calmness. The most difficult position is centre-forward. I became a real centre-forward in my thirties.
— What do you think of Cseh II.?
Sindelar: He is a very good player. Sehr sehr gut! When I saw him, I always liked him. Of course, I don't know what average he plays at home. Because someone's class is only determined by the average he can play.
Many old and new Hungarian players were mentioned. Orth, the Konráds — Jenő Konrád and Kálmán Konrád —, Schlosser and others. Suddenly Sindelar shouted out:
Sindelar: Tell me, where is Kálmán now, or what exactly is his name?
— Do you mean Jenő Kalmár?
Sindelar: Yes, yes! That, oh, that was a great footballer. Probably the one I liked the most of all the Hungarians so far.
We reassure Sindi that Jenő Kalmár is on the road to recovery after a long illness. He will recover from his foot ailment after all and will be able to play again. Maybe even against the Austrian national team...
Outside on the Danube embankment, kids, florists and early walkers are already peering in. We say goodbye. We wished Sindelar a very pleasant stay in Hungary, may he love the Hungarian land and people as he is respected and loved by Hungarians, football fans and sportsmen. Sindelar is still calling for us:
Sindelar: I wish Ferencváros to win the Cup!
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