Marek Hamsik: Napoli’s Leader In Midfield

When you hear the name Marek Hamsik, what goes through your mind?

He is nicknamed ‘Marekiaro’, a wordplay from the name Marechiaro – a small seaside village near the city of Naples with beautiful, clear sea water around the city and an elegant view which the Neapolitans love so much  – just like the player himself.

Many people hailed him as an outstanding playmaker, and indeed he is, he does have everything it takes to become the perfect playmaker. He is fast, technically gifted, energetic, strong, versatile. He is capable of hitting the ball with either foot. He is also known for his ability to both create chances and score goals. In addition, he is also known for his leadership and stamina, as well as his footballing intelligence as he made lots of attacking advances in the opposition half with his tireless runs.

The 30-year-old Napoli captain has recently broken the goalscoring record of the legendary Diego Maradona after scoring his 116th goal in a match against Sampdoria which Partenopei won 3-2. Not a bad achievement for the Slovakian midfielder in the club where he has served for more than ten years.

The vice-captain of Slovakia admired Pavel Nedved as his idol since he was young and many people have also compared them both due to their similarities in terms of playing style.

Marek Hamsik has really come a long, long way from just a skinny but talented teenager to a midfielder who has mastered the arts of playmaking to near perfection.

He was always highly-regarded as a player with huge potential since he was a young boy.

Hamsik joined Slovan Bratislava in 2002 when he was still 15 years of age. He stayed at the Slovakian club until 2004. During his stay at the club, he managed to get six caps for the first-team and scored one goal – before being snapped up by struggling Italian club Brescia.

His stay was short in Slovan Bratislava but it seemed like only a glimpse of his brilliance could even attract bigger European clubs.

17-year-old Hamsik made a move to Brescia in 2004 for a fee around €500,000. A move which proves to be his first step towards greatness in Serie A.

Young Marek Hamsik was deemed impressive enough in the youth team that the Brescia manager at that time, Alberto Cavasin, decided that it’s time to give him a chance to compete in the first team.

He finally made his Brescia debut in March 2005 in a 3-1 defeat against Chievo Verona.

Brescia were relegated the next season, but it wasn’t really a bad news to hear for young Hamsik. The Slovakian midfielder was given much more game time in the 2005/06 season in Brescia, under manager Rolando Maran. He made a total of 28 appearances in all competitions, either as a starter or as a sub.

The 2006/07 season proved to be his breakthrough season though, the spiky-haired attacking midfielder played regularly and he was a very (if not the most) important figure in helping a very young Brescia squad to an improved sixth-placed finish in Serie B that season, but it wasn’t enough to get his team a promotion. Nevertheless, the young, talented Hamsik did have a very impressive tally of a total of 11 goals in 45 games in all competitions.

His magnificent performances caught the attention the recently promoted club, SSC Napoli, who managed to secure his services for no less than €5.5 million.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis were certainly not wrong at all when he said that Hamsik is a player that they should watch closely in the future.

Napoli fans didn’t have to wait for too long to see his impact at the club at that time. His first competitive match with Napoli was already promising as he set up the opening goal and scored the second goal himself in a match where Napoli came out 4-0 victorious against Cesena in the first round of Coppa Italia. The attacking midfielder managed to get himself 10 goals and 4 assists in 40 outings in all competitions in the 2007/08 season and he ended the season as the club’s top scorer also helping the club to a European qualification spot. Not bad for a first season don’t you think?

But his second season was even more impressive than the first one. Hamsik reached double figures again after scoring 12 goals and also setting up 7 assists in 40 games in all competitions for Napoli. They finished mid-table though but the youngster Marek Hamsik kept on impressing and showing how good he can and will be someday. He finished the season as the club’s top scorer once again for two straight years.

Marek Hamsik just can’t stop reaching double figures in terms of goals in six seasons in a row until the 2013/14 season. His sharp, spiky, iconic hair goes along well with how dangerous and sharp he can be in front of goal and in opposition’s defence.

He was appointed as the club captain in 2013 and he has been leading Partenopei since then.

 

In a footballer’s career, it would not be a surprise if they have ups and downs, rise and fall. But it’s a bit hard to spot one in the career of Marek Hamsik throughout his years in football. He is a dedicated player and very determined as he keeps on improving and defying the odds.

What makes him even more special and respected in the eyes of the Napoli fans and many football enthusiasts is his loyalty to the club.

Many players come and go at Napoli but a few are happy to stay for long enough. Hamsik is one of them who are glad to stay despite numerous offers from numerous big clubs in Europe. It’s astonishing to think that Marek Hamsik has rejected the advances of clubs like Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, and even FC Bayern Munich to stay and fight for his current club, SSC Napoli, the club where he has plied his trade at for more than ten years.

This year though, in January, the 30-year-old Slovakian playmaker has said that he wants to see out the rest of his career at Napoli.

“Why Napoli? Because they signed me when I was still a kid,”

he told Corriere dello Sport when asked about his plans to see out his playing days at the club.

“I was only 20, but I’ve never regretted it, not even when a group of fans went against the club upon my arrival.

I’m happy in Naples, as are my family members. Here, I’ve been made to feel at home.

The city is beautiful and people are warm. When Juventus and Milan were both interested in me, I wasn’t convinced: it was a bit of not feeling ready and not wanting to leave.

Professionally and humanly speaking, I have everything here and I believe that, even if you can’t make forecasts in football, I’ll end my career here.”

Hamsik has gained legendary status while he’s at the club and he is currently the most-loved player at Naples after Diego Maradona.

He may not be young anymore, but his footballing abilities haven’t seemed to fade at all.

Napoli are currently leading in Serie A with 57 points, only one ahead of Juventus. If they did win Serie A, it would be even more interesting to see what the future holds for Marek Hamsik.

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