Pirlo 2.0? Hamsik feels like it again thanks to Ancelotti
Marek Hamsik is an institution among Napoli fans. The star and captain of the traditional southern Italian club is the identification figure par excellence – and has been on the road for the Partenopei for over ten years. Recently, however, the 31-year-old with a Mohawk cut had lost some of his enthusiasm. But Carlo Ancelotti knew an effective antidote – and has implanted fresh lust in the Slovak.
That Marek Hamsik would become a footballer was already before his birth on 27 July 1987 in the Slovakian city of Banska Bystrica, so to speak carved in stone. His grandfather played a big part in this. “I wasn’t even born when he had already got me a pair of football shoes,” Hamsik himself once revealed.
The rest is history: As a youth he worked his way through youth club Jupie Podlavice to the capital Bratislava before making his debut in Brescia Calcio’s Serie A dress at the age of 17 and daring to join the SSC Naples in 2007. A golden decision – for him and the proud club from southern Italy. Even though it was not enough for the third Scudetto after 1986/87 and 1989/90 (the golden age with world footballer Diego Maradona), the man with the striking Mohawk cut and the many tattoos played his way into the hearts of passionate fans.
Hamsik – an “alien”.
395 Serie A games, exactly 100 league goals, 501 compulsory games, 120 goals – numbers to be proud of. Especially as many of the midfielder’s successful finishes were simply beautiful. In addition, Hamsik at least statistically outdid the legend Maradona in the past season: shortly before Christmas 2017, the Slovak international (105 caps) scored his 116th goal for the Partenopei; Maradona had “only” scored 115.
The local SSC fans have been celebrating Hamsik for this reason and because of all his sporting skills as a leading player for years in the stadium with the word “alien”, they pay homage to him at the training grounds and on the street. He himself once said provocatively: “I can drive through Naples at 140 km/h without getting a ticket.”
Farewell thoughts: What happened?
But Hamsik has had one shortcoming for over ten years: Despite intensive efforts, the captain did not manage to lead the club to a championship – in 2017/18, record champion Juventus Turin was once again one too big at the end of an extremely strong season. The consequence: farewell thoughts arose, the big desire was gone – a change of China was in the room. Probably also because the exhausting game nibbled at him as a “ten” (38 Serie A stakes, 25 substitutions, six substitutions – only seven games in Italy’s House of Lords over the full 90 minutes).
“It must be said that he has lost interest in recent months,” Hamsik’s adviser Martin Petras openly admitted to Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. A few examples followed: “All the talk about reaching Maradona’s brand inevitably influenced him, everyone was talking about it then. Then in a game when there was a penalty kick, he let his colleagues go first.” A thing that would never have happened with a completely ambitious Hamsik…