Bence Lázár Obituary

“I hope there are many good matches in front of me,” said Bence Lazar following his game-winning debut in Feburary 2011. “I know that it is not possible to score two goals in every game, but it is possible to be a hassle for the defenders. I would like to avoid the ups and downs and keep myself in good shape. When the bad times come, then I want to snap out of it quickly.”

Bence Lazar was 19 when he made his debut for Ujpest. Playing just behind the striker, Lazar had the type of debut every young footballer dreams of as a child: scoring two goals to overturn a deficit in the 89th minute for his boyhood club.

The following weekend Lazar scored again, a five-game drought followed, but then he scored again and again and again and again and again. The now-20 year old finished the season by scoring in five consecutive league games and a national team call-up followed in the August. Little did he know it then, but his peak had tragically already come and gone.

Throughout his teen years, Lazar was plagued with back injuries. His family weren’t the most affluent, but they did what they could to find a cure, moving to the countryside and later to Austria in search of a remedy. The pain was so severe that it wasn’t just affecting his mobility, but it was affecting his breathing too.

After a year out of the game, following promising trials at FC Twente and Vicenza back in 2009, Lazar found an acupuncture masseur in what he and his family thought would permanently alleviate his suffering.

But it wasn’t to be. Just over a year later, the back problems returned, and Lazar would go on to play just 12 more league games across 2011 and 2012. In 2013, he returned, but never quite looked the same, and despite scoring 4 goals and registering 2 assists in 26 games (10 starts), at the end of the 2013/14 he left Ujpest for Nyiregyhaza.

The move to Nyiregyhaza never worked out. He played just five games for the club, and retired two months into the season at the age of just 23.

A year and two days after his final game for Nyiregyhaza, Lazar was given the news that he had contracted leukaemia.

The updates of his ailment were kept private, though he did give interviews to the media and appeared as a pundit during a handful of NB I games, where he always came across incredibly positive and upbeat.

In 2016 he returned to the pitch to ceremoniously kick off the game against ZTE and broke down in the centre circle, but he looked to be on the mend.

His Instagram was constantly updated during his illness. That boyish, dashing face was consistently complimented with his girlfriend’s affection, and a caption full of enthusiasm.

At the beginning of 2018, the Instagram posts stopped, and on the 20th February, Ujpest sent out a message pleading for blood donors to help their former player.

Two days later, on the 22nd February, his death was announced at the age of just 26.

Bence Lazar wasn’t just a fantastic footballer. He was a humble, articulate, beautiful, and inspiringly positive human being who had the whole country praying for his recovery.

A wonderful and incredibly promising life cut so tragically short.

bence lazar