Janos Balogh says Hearts exit was only way forward

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JANOS BALOGH spoke today for the first time about his exit from Hearts and admitted he had to leave Tynecastle to rejuvenate his career after just two games in two seasons.

Stressing that he bears no grudge towards the Edinburgh club, Balogh explained that a lack of first-team action forced him to sever ties with Hearts and return to his native Hungary.

The 29-year-old spent three-and-a-half years in Scotland, the last two of which saw him relegated to third-choice goalkeeper behind Marian Kello and Jamie MacDonald. When the chance came to mutually terminate his contract last December, he happily accepted the severance package offered to him by the Hearts board.

“I wanted to leave, not because of the club or the money problems. I just decided to leave because for the last 18 months I didn’t get the chance to prove to the supporters that I’m good enough for Hearts. I need to play so I had to change club,” said Balogh.

“Thinking back, I have lots of nice memories from Hearts. My first game was against Hibs and I played against Celtic and Rangers home and away. I played lots of big matches and the atmosphere was always brilliant. Me and my family liked living in Edinburgh because it is such a nice city.

“Everything was fine but I was frustrated not playing. I didn’t enjoy my last six months there. Marian was playing well, that’s why I did not play. I know how it is in football, especially with goalkeepers. If one of us is playing well, the others can’t play because there is only one goalkeeper in any team. I accept that but I was frustrated and I knew I had to leave.”

Balogh is still searching for a new club but is keen to continue his career outwith his homeland. If necessary, he will accept a short-term deal to play in the Hungarian league until June.

“I’m still waiting for a club but I would like to play outside Hungary,” he said. “There is a chance I could join a foreign team this week, but if not I will stay in Hungary and play for a club here and try again to move in the summer. I would definitely prefer to go abroad.”