Napoli star Marek Hamsik turned down AC Milan and Juventus
The Slovakian midfielder, who has been with the Partenopei for the last 10 years, has stated that he wants to retire at the Italian club.
Despite past approaches from Italian giants such as Milan and Juve, the 30-year-old has never had his head turned, and despite the unpredictability of European football, Hamsik does not plan on leaving Napoli.
“It’s difficult in football because you never know what will happen,” said Hamsik to Kicker.
“I’m not thinking about leaving Napoli, though. In the past I’ve rejected offers from Juventus and Milan because I didn’t feel ready. But I’m happy to be here, both on a professional and human level.
“I could even finish my career here, maybe after winning a Scudetto [Italian league title], but I hope I don’t have to wait until I’m 40…”
Hamsik has scored 113 goals for Napoli and requires just two more to equal the club’s all-time goalscoring record set by Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
“I really hope I can beat that record. Maradona is a God in Naples, it would be amazing to be in front of someone like that,” said Hamsik. “Come on, seeing ‘Hamsik’ ahead of ‘Maradona’ has to be wonderful.”
“Obviously I can’t compare to him though, but it would be crazy to get that record and win the Scudetto with Napoli in the same year.”
Hamsik scored 12 goals for Napoli in Serie A last season, attempting 2,053 passes and having 148 shots on goal with a shot accuracy of 88%. The Slovakian midfielder was in impressive form for the Italian club last term, in which they placed third in Serie A.
“We’ve grown a lot over the past two years,” Hamsik said about his club’s progress.
“He [manager Maurizio Sarri] is a perfect motivator, he’s a great psychologist and really knows how to build relationships.
“He prepares for games in such minute detail that I’ve never seen before, we know everything about our opponents but at the same time he repeats that we have to play our own game, because that’s what we really like.”
Napoli’s Champions League group stage fixtures consist of tough challenges against Feyenoord, Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Hamsik added: “I don’t think we’ve got a group of death, but all the teams are good.
“The Ukrainians [Shakhtar Donetsk] have a lot of experience and Feyenoord are the Dutch champions, which is significant.
“The Champions League isn’t our target, but if we’re attentive and we don’t get it wrong in key matches we can do better than last year.”
Napoli have made an encouraging start to the current Serie A campaign, winning their first two fixtures. The Partenopei will be aiming to extend that sequence when they face Bologna this weekend.