21 Midfielder Legia Warsaw Slovakia
Swaggering Slovakian midfield dynamo that opted out of MFK Košice to sign with Legia Warsaw in early 2014. Scoring on only his second appearance for Legioniści against league leaders Wislaw Kraków within weeks of arriving, Duda quickly won local support. Operating initially as a striker and then on the flanks, the young Slovak eventually slotted in as the cutting edge of Henning Berg’s attacking midfield as his team clinched their second successive league title.
2015 has been
Steady. An ankle injury at the start of the year set Duda back as Legia struggled out of the blocks after the winter break. While his team mates rallied, Duda was considerably less effective in the Ekstraklasa and a red card at Lechia Gdansk in April set him back somewhat as the season drew to a close.
At international level things were considerably more upbeat. Scoring the winning goal on his debut for Slovakia against the Czech Republic in a friendly in March was genuine boys own stuff and secured the Snina born midfielder a regular place in Ján Kozák’s squads. This year, Duda has won a total of seven senior caps.
With interest piqued across Europe, we were unsurprised to see Duda set for a move to Inter in the summer amid widespread interest in his talents. In an interview with PolskaTimes however, Duda explained why things didn’t quite go according to plan:
“The problem was related to the Financial Fair Play rules. Inter were fined by UEFA, and therefore couldn't act freely in bringing players in. Representatives of the Milanese club and Legia Warsaw had already agreed a transfer fee.
“My club wanted a lump sum though, and that was a problem for them [Inter].
“I was practically an Inter player, but a day later the Nerazzurri representatives changed their minds, because a lump sum would have seen them incur a penalty.
“As soon as the go-ahead for the payment arrived, I'd have signed for three or four years. Unfortunately, none of this happened, and I stayed in Warsaw."
And that’s where we are. Duda has continued as the main attacking midfielder for Legia and has become perhaps more of a key player for his club under new coach Stanislav Cherchesov after Norwegian Berg was relieved of his duties earlier in the season. The Polish top flight is just about to enter the winter break with the Warsaw club perched right on the shoulder of surprise leaders Piast Gliwice. With the January transfer window drawing close, it may well be that this weekend’s round of matches will be Duda’s last in Poland.
The main talking point at Legia this season has been the breathtaking form of Hungarian striker Nemanja Nikolić who has already contributed 20 goals in 20 Ekstraklasa matches. Ondrej Duda is an important player at the club, but the opportunity to cash in now might be tempting, Legia look as if they could hold their own without him.
It’s unlikely that Duda can do much more in Poland and would be an interesting player in either Germany or Italy. If he’s to stand any chance of unsettling the majestic Marek Hamsik at international level he’s going to need to step up sooner rather than later.
C Consider your options carefully
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