As the years go by, it’s hard to realize how much a person is valued when that individual is so loyal and ever present.
Marek Hamisk was never involved in a massive transfer fee received, nor did he cost the club a huge amount either. It’s the guy with the crazy hair and tattoos.
Many people may not have noticed, but we’re speaking about a player that has hit the 100 goal mark as a midfielder. In a generation that strikers go for ridiculous amounts of money, how much would a midfielder that contributes roughly 10 goals a season cost? Doesn’t matter, Hamsik never asked to know. He needs very little praise on a daily basis; comes to work day in and day out. Napoli’s “bandiera” past, present and future.
While it isn’t set in stone, rumors had Hamsik as Mister X. This term that Milan’s very own Adriano Galliani famously used throughout the summer of 2011. Now five years on, how things could have been different for both squads mentioned. Galliani’s rossoneri were just months removed from winning the Scudetto, and reinforcements for the upcoming season were the top concern.
Hamsik had all the credentials to be the right purchase. Age was on his side. A tireless runner, brave, highly technical, great decision maker and even more interesting, an extremely versatile footballer. With all the requirements in place and possibly a cornerstone to build around, it wasn’t to be. The transfer was dead before it had life.
Rumor has it, another scare for the Napoli faithful could have been this past summer, with a real interest on the behalf of Carlo Ancelotti and his new employers Bayern Munich. The German giants had targeted Hamsik as a perfect addition. Once again, with the will of the player and the management, the idea was shot down before it even had a chance. While this may have been Milan and Bayern’s lost opportunities, it was Napoli’s best deal that never went through. This is where the under appreciated aspect of the title comes into play.
From day one, this man — and the term “man” shouldn’t be taken lightly — has worn the Azzurri colors like a second skin. When looking back at each coach and the method in which they deployed Hamsik, it’s difficult to see very much consistency.
What could have been the downfall for the player himself? What is a recurrence in the way many players see themselves as “prima donna’s” and are unable to adapt. Not accepting change of position is more often an issue then most may know. Hamsik instead rolls up his sleeves and trucks along year in and year out. Without even a peep coming from his lips towards any manager.
Whether it was the ageless Edy Reja, the raw but highly regarded Roberto Donadoni, the memorable Walter Mazzarri, the prestigious Rafa Benitez or now and quite possibly the most balanced/most hungry of them all, Maurizio Sarri. What do all of these “allenatori” have in common? A staple that hasn’t been removed from all their squads and that is Marek Hamsik.
If the idea or project was a 3-5-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-1-2 or a 4-3-3, Hamsik has been there. How about roles? Hamsik’s versatility shows he’s capable of being the “mezz’ala” in a three-striker system; the box-to-box in a five man midfield, the “mediano” in 4-3-3, and maybe anything else you can throw his way.
Responsibilities have never been an issue for him either. From the main playmaker behind a central striker, to the 2nd outlet in the midfield, and now the box to box off the ball player that becomes the 3rd element in the opposing teams box. Hamsik is what you want him to be and more.
The “man” attacks and is cold blooded like a striker. While in his own half, the Slovakian defends; closes down opponents with energy and class of a old time center back, without forgetting the passing abilities to put in through balls like a traditional “regista.”
If he were another nationality at a young age? Well, it’s possible he could have been the next Zidane, Iniesta or maybe even Falcao, not the Falcao of AS Monaco but the original Falcao of Brazil and Roma that many long ago might remember. Hopefully the world of football understands that a player is a product of a system or is a result of what his surroundings are.
Who knows if Hamsik had been in a squad of the magnitude of a Barcelona, Bayern Munich or a Milan in its high time. Would he have received the status of being a household name? That being said, on a club level it’s only a theory since he’s spent a lifetime with the Azzurri.
Internationally it’s unfair to blame Slovakia, who are and might be forever minnows to the game of football. With the odd glimpses of cinderella stories every so often.
Just to mention as a side note, Hamsik recorded his 100th goal as a Napoli player in all competitions, while all eyes are elsewhere. No one will raise there hands in joy because of this feat. Is that any justice to the captain that is always there through thick and thin.
The boggling question: are there enough pundits or articles speaking about a person that is so present and influential on a daily basis? Definitely not enough. What’s interesting is in a sport where scorelines end more often than not with 1-0 or 2-1, the workhorses or the men in the engine room get no accolades. Hamsik is that player and more. The sad realization is that the moment he is gone, will be the moment that he will be most appreciated.
The region of Campania have many marvels and products that the world is envious of, one of them being the mozzarella di bufala; Denominazione di origine controllata, in abbreviation it’s DOC. In English it’s controlled designation of origin.
While Hamsik may not be Neapolitan of origin or a product of the Napoli youth academy, nearly 10 years have passed since his debut. So maybe what has seeped into his muscles — and blood — may very well be the same liquid that the water buffaloes produce to make those elegant and delicate mozzarella’s. So soak it in while it lasts, because once it’s gone, the next dish might not be so tasty.