Midfielder | Red Bull Salzburg | Hungary
Nobody knows yet where the ceiling is on Szoboszlai’s talent, and that’s really, really exciting.
The precociously gifted trequartista has spent much of this past year ripping things up, scoring extravagantly beautiful free-kicks, and dropping the jaws of stat-aficionados for fun and as far as introductions go it doesn’t get much better. Seven goals and five assists in 820 minutes is a staggering feat and yes it could be argued that this was all done in the Austrian second tier (the Szekesfehervar-born schemer was initially farmed out to Leifering from his parent club Salzburg) but then you remember that he is 18. 18, for goodness sake!
Then you remember too that these figures were racked up from midfield.
He is unquestionably Hungary’s next superstar and while his twinkling feet are a joy to behold there is also some necessary grit in the oyster as illustrated by a tattoo that runs down his arm that reads: “The talent is given by God. But without determination and sacrifice, it is worthless." Well, quite.
As for his attributes, let’s leave that analysis to the kid himself: "I am a very versatile player, who has a good shot and a precise final pass”. Given how impressive he’s already been, displaying a breadth of excellence in a short period of time; we can add modesty to the list too.
2018 has been….
….akin to going to see a gig from an unsigned band and they walk on stage looking the absolute business and belt out a set so sublime that you feel you already know the songs; you already have the CD and it’s a greatest hits package. But that can’t be so because these are acne-plagued teens whose voices have just broken.
The attacking midfielder – who is just as comfortable on the left – signed his first professional contract back in January and the year has only got better from there.
In recent seasons he has been fast-tracked through the international set-up, often playing at a level several years above his age, and surely a full cap is imminent and inevitable.
For his club a handful of appearances from the bench and a solitary goal is the nascent return as Salzburg try to do the right thing and gradually acclimatise him to top level football. Such is his confidence in possession however – and so impactful is his elegance on the ball – this sensible plan might not be possible for too much longer.
You know why Dominik Szoboszlai ‘only’ gets a D below? Because he’s starting out and still raw, with flaws to his game such as a notable lack of pace and unknowns to this point making judgement difficult. The possibility that he might be just getting warmed up though makes him a must-watch for the seasons to come.