When a freestyle football champion floored Neymar

Freestyle footballer, Kitti Szasz once had a chance to display her skills to Brazilian star Neymar.

Hungary's freestyle football World champion Kitti Szasz in Kochi.   -  THULASI KAKKAT

She can work up magic with a football, once she even floored Brazilian star Neymar with her tricks but Kitti Szasz is not in love with the beautiful game.

A four-time freestyle football women’s World champion, the 26-year-old Hungarian can make the ball dance to her tune. Kitti never looked out of place doing the tricks with the football.

Despite being blessed with such skills and control, one was curious to know why she didn’t take up football. And is there a regret that she did not play the game?

“No, I’m not sad or disappointed that I did not play football. I mean, I’m not attracted to football, I’m only attracted to good music and good tricks,” Kitti said in a chat with Sportstar at the Taj Gateway here on Friday.

Kitti, along with two other Europe’s top freestyle football stars – Germany’s Aylin Yaren, who played for her country’s junior national team, and Poland’s Agnieszka Mnich – are now touring the country on the invitation of Apollo Tyres and displaying their skills during breaks in Indian Super League games.

Kitti’s dad was a football player and he had plenty of football tricks to show to his little daughter many years ago She, however, was good at karate and trained in the martial art for nine years.

“One day, I saw a video on freestyle football, I felt it was very cute. I was inspired by the tricks performed by the Moroccon guy, I wanted to try them too,” said Kitti who is on her maiden trip to India.

“I was 16 then, I learned the basics, I went to international freestyle football competitions. And I won the World Championships four times between 2011 and 2014. After that, I got offers to do freestyle shows, I started travelling all over the world and now I’ve been to 27 countries.”

On one such trip to Brazil, she met Neymar during an event and had a chance to display her skills to him.

“That was in December 2012. He told me he has never seen a girl playing like this before. I was very happy, not only in meeting him but because he said things like this about me,” said Kitti.

“It was a very nice experience. He also showed a few tricks, he is really good at them too, he could do some three or four tricks, and we did a photo-shoot together.”

So, it was not surprising to hear that Brazil is one of her favourite countries. “Also Japan. And I love the spicy food in India, especially paneer tikka masala.”

Freestyle football stars appear to be good dancers with their flexible movements but Kitti made it clear that she was not one.

“I don’t think so, I think I’m average in dancing but yes, compared to a football player, I’m more flexible but not as much as a good dancer. But there are a lot of similarities between freestyle football and break-dance.”

Watching her, one would get tempted to try a trick or two and enter a lovely new world.