Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnák confirmed to The Tribune on Thursday that he has been negotiating a new contract with RSL since January, as reported by MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday.
He told The Tribune those talks are one of the sources of frustration he referenced earlier this week, when he said he was happy to get a break from off-the-field frustrations at RSL when he goes on international duty next week.
“There’s nothing that really led up to that frustration on that day,” he said Thursday. “It’s just how I felt and what I had to say. It was time for me to say something.”
Rusnák stressed he would not allow off-field distractions to affect his play.
“When I step on the field, whether that’s for a team here or for my national team back home, I give 110 percent and I fight for my teammates like they’re my brothers,” he said. “And Mike [Petke] with the coaching staff, ever since I came here, they were unbelievable to me. So let’s not get twisted what goes on off the field and on the field.”
RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen was not available to comment due to travel, and general manager Craig Waibel declined to comment.
Rusnák, a Slovakian international, transferred to RSL from Dutch club FC Groningen in January 2017. His contract is guaranteed through 2020. Rusnák has risen to become a young leader, alongside veterans Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman, on a struggling team.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder is unlikely to spend his entire career in MLS if he continues to perform as he has for both RSL and the Slovakia national team.
“I want to play at the best level possible,” Rusnák said, “so when I look back at my career when I’m whatever — 35, 36 years old — I just want to accomplish something. Whichever team I played for I want to win a trophy for that team, and I want to be remembered by the fans of that club. And of course I want to reach different goals on the national team level. So at the end of the day, I will do what’s best for me.”
As for his current contract situation?
“I believe only time will solve this whole thing,” Rusnák said.