Union midfielder Dániel Gazdag has withdrawn from Hungary’s squad at the European Championship on Wednesday due to a minor knee injury, manager Jim Curtin said.
Gazdag suffered the injury during Hungary’s pre-tournament training camp, which he joined after making his Union debut on May 23.
“We have all the images and MRIs from Hungary, and it’s an extensive list — nothing shows up on them,” Curtin said. “In communicating with Daniel, he just described it as discomfort. And as we all know, in that competition, if you’re not 100%, you know, it’s tough to go out there against a Portugal, against a Germany, or against a France.”
Those are the teams in Hungary’s group in the Euros. Portugal, led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, thumped Hungary, 3-0, in their group stage opener Tuesday in front of over 55,000 fans in Hungary’s capital Budapest. Gazdag didn’t play in that game, or in either of Hungary’s warmup games earlier this month.
“They didn’t think it would keep him out of the ‘real games,’ so to speak, but unfortunately it did,” Curtin said of the Hungarian federation.
If Gazdag had been healthy, he could have become the first active Union player to play in a European Championship.
Initial reports in Hungarian media assumed his absences were coach’s decisions. Though he was the Hungarian league’s player of the season this year, he wasn’t atop the national team’s attacking midfield depth chart. Now we know there was more to it.
“It’s not a major injury at all, but it’s one that comes at an unfortunate time for an incredible player who I really feel for,” Curtin said. “He’s devastated that he didn’t get the opportunity to play in front of his home fans, in the biggest competition that there is maybe outside of a World Cup. I still think he’ll use it as motivation — he’s excited to get back with the Philadelphia Union, as he said to me, but it’s a hard time for him.”
Gazdag will undergo further examination when he gets back to Philadelphia. He’ll surely miss the Union’s season-resuming game at Atlanta United on Sunday (2 p.m., ESPN, ESPN Deportes). What happens beyond that will be up to the medical staff.
Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said he suspects the injury was caused as much by being overworked as anything. Like countless players across Europe, Gazdag played a condensed season of games due to the coronavirus pandemic. And Hungary is in a huge spotlight, playing two of its three Euros group stage games at home in Budapest. The second is Saturday against France, the reigning World Cup champions (9 a.m., ESPN, PrendeTV).
After that, the Magyars go to Munich to play Germany next Wednesday (3 p.m., ESPN2, PrendeTV).
“I think it’s some kind of overload,” Tanner said. “They started [their pre-tournament camp], even earlier than other countries, knowing that they have a tough group, and if you want to survive it, you should at least win one game — and you know what that means.”