Eccentric hairstyles and enigmatic smiles do Marek Hamsik an injustice, as one of world’s most talented midfielder and his exploits often go under the radar, making the Slovak international one of the most underrated players today.
During his ten years with the Partenopei, Marek Hamsik has carved his name deep into the hearts of Napoli most faithful supporters, the proud Southerners who have made the Slovak one of their own soon after his arrival to San Paolo.
That’s in fact the deal with the versatile 29-year-old.
His infatuating nature is hard to resist and Napoli fans know it best.
Making of the Legend
The inexperienced eye would not have much to deduce from Marek Hamsik’s two-year spell at Slovan Bratislava, during which the Slovakia star made only 6 league appearances.
Italian side Brescia were quick to recognise his talents however, despite going on to raise a couple of eyebrows by deciding to shell out 500,000 euros to land another one in line of obscure players from eastern Europe.
Three years with the Serie A minnows were more than enough for the talented Slovakia international to display his talents, creativity and verve, which ultimately made the newly-promoted side Napoli come knocking at the door.
Napoli top dog Aurelio de Laurentis saw much more than a raw talent in the spicy Slovak’s attitude. Similar in characters, the two would go on to form a long-lasting partnership which has long repaid the €5.5 million Partenopei invested to recruit Hamsik.
Ten years after his arrival to San Paolo stadium, Marek Hamsik is currently sitting high in his throne with the captain’s armband, wrapped around his forearm, reveling in the attention he is being given on every step of the way down South.
Loved like one of their own, Hamsik has found a special place in every Napoli fan’s heart.
His dedicated performances, the ability to constantly reinvent himself in order to be of best service to his club have made him a fan favourite and a player indispensable for all head coaches he saw come and go during his time under the Vesuvius.
With his teammates following the path of the managers past, Marek Hamsik was repeatedly refusing sacks of money pledging his future to Napoli over and over again, which comes as a huge surprise in today’s era of corporate infidelity.
Ten Years of Success
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani moved on to France stabbing a dagger inside fans’ heart, while Gonzalo Higuain only added insult to injury when he decided to move to Serie A champions Juventus this summer.
Standing as a proud member of a dying breed, Hamsik is what football romantics like to call a one-club man. Indeed, Napoli are his third club, but they are his home and a place where his heart is.
Ten years after his official debut for Partenopei, Hamsik is widely expected to make a move to pastures greener in near future, as many of the transfer speculations keep suggesting. Search for trophies is being named as the main reason behind such claims, but Hamsik is not driven by accolades he is yet to receive the brightest of.
The Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2008 and the six-time Slovak Footballer of the Year has helped his club to two Coppa Italia title and one Supercoppa Italiana trophy so far.
Having come agonisingly close to grabbing the illusive league title last term with Partenopei, the 29-year-old has until 2018 to try and push his side to the top of the Italian football. He will be 31 once his contract with Napoli is up and there is great possibility that despoite common belief Hamsik will go on to extend his allegiance and sign a deal that would see him retire as a Neapolitan.
Many people would not label his decade at Napoli a success, but Hamsik’s ten years with the club have helped him develop his potency, pedigree and undeniable quality, which went hand-in-hand with Napoli’s revival, as his club continues to enjoy the most sustained period of what can be called success ever since the golden age of Argentina legend Diego Armando Maradona.
Loyal servant of the Italian side chronically sitting deep in the shadow of its more prominent Serie A rival Juventus, Hamsik has used his club influence to elevate himself as one of the most prominent figures in Slovakia national team.
The aforementioned six yearly awards back in his homeland are there to confirm it, together with his imposing Euro 2016 performances which helped Hamsik live up to Slovakia’s expectations, despite the disappointing finish to their campaign.
Slovakia displayed stiff resilience throughout the group stages to earn their spot in the Round of 16 after losing to Wales, beating Russia and playing a goalless stalemate against England. Helping his team’s cause with two goals of his own, Hamsik did well to display his catalytic qualities which tend to be so irritably underrated in Italy.
Imperious in his individual performances, Hamsik was hindered by Slovakia’s chronic lack of quality and consistency, which cost them a clear-cut 3-0 defeat at the hands of the 2014 World Cup winners Germany.
On a more selfish note, which goes opposite to Hamsik’s team-player values, the Euro 2016 exploits have perhaps helped the Slovak star perhaps earn – a duly overdue – wide-spread recognition.