No one can match Maradona. Nevertrheless, Marek Hamsik is a Napoli club icon just like the Argentine. No one played more matches in the heavenly light blue than the Slovak with the mohawk. As Napoli’s top scorer, Hamsik has dethroned the Argentine, with 121 goals. This status did not last long since the Belgian international Dries Mertens has surpassed the Slovak since his departure to the Chinese Dalian in 2019.
For 9 million euros a year, Hamsik could have luxuriously rested on his laurels in China, but then he would not have been ready to play for Slovakia in the European Championship. Hamsik therefore wanted to return to Europe. At the beginning of March, he signed a contract with IFK Göteborg, a big name in the Swedish league, but also a club that has been underperforming for years. Unfortunately, Hamsik was injured during training within a week of his arrival in Sweden.
Still, there is a good chance that record international Hamsik (126 caps) will be back in the starting eleven at the age of 33 in a team that largely consists players in their thirties. Former Slovak-coach Pavel Hapal has tried to rejuvenate the squad in recent years, but has failed. After Slovakia lost to Israel and Scotland in the Nations League last year, qualification for the European Championship was hanging by a thread. Hapal gor fired and his successor Stefan Tarkovic largely reversed the rejuvenation, won by a hair’s breadth against Northern Ireland and so Slovakia is represent at the World Championship with an aged team.
In the six games he still played for Gothenburg this season, Hamsik managed to score once. That goal was impressive. After a sloppy defensive move from Göteborg opponent IK Sirius, the ball lands at the feet of Hamsi, who then scores with a devistating half volley in the winkle angle. Let’s hope that the man with the mohawk will shine once more in Slovakia’s matches against Spain, Sweden and Poland.