Marek Hamšík (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈmarek ˈɦamʃiːk]; born 27 July 1987) is a Slovak professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder and serves as the captain for Italian club Napoli, and the Slovakia national team, for which he is vice-captain.
After beginning his club career with Slovan Bratislava in 2004, he subsequently moved to Italian club Brescia later that year. In 2007, he was purchased by newly promoted Serie A club Napoli, where he has since become a mainstay in the squad's starting line-up. His energy, leadership, creativity, skill, and eye for goal from midfield saw him play a key role in helping the team to two Coppa Italia titles, a Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
At international level, he represented Slovakia at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, helping his country to qualify for the tournament for the first time in their history, and subsequently led the national team to the round of 16 of the tournament with a victory over defending champions Italy in the final match of the group stage. He later also led his nation to qualify for UEFA Euro 2016, making their first ever appearance at the European Championships, and once again helped the national side to reach the second round of the competition.
For his performances, Hamšík has also won several individual awards: he is a six-time winner of the Slovak Footballer of the Year Award, and he was named Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2008. In 2011 and 2016, he was named to the Serie A Team of the Year, and in 2015, he was included in the UEFA Europa League Squad of the season. In 2013, Hamšík was ranked as the eighth best footballer in Europe by Bloomberg.
Despite the fact that Hamšík grew up in Banská Bystrica, he never played for major local team Dukla Banská Bystrica. Instead he began playing for a small youth team Jupie Podlavice. In 2002, he signed with a major Slovak team Slovan Bratislava. He played six-times for the Slovan A-team and scored one goal.
He moved from Slovan to Brescia in 2004 as a 17-year-old young talent at a transfer fee of €500,000. His first match in Serie A with Brescia was in a 3–1 away defeat against Chievo Verona on 20 March 2005, when he was 17 years and 237 days old. Later in that season, Brescia finished 19th in the Serie A league and were relegated to the Serie B. In 2005–06, he played 24 league matches for Brescia in Serie B, with Brescia finishing tenth. He had an impressive 2006–07 season, scoring 10 goals in 40 matches.
On 28 June 2007, newly promoted Serie A club Napoli announced that Hamšík had signed a five-year contract with them. The transfer cost Napoli €5.5 million. The president of the club Aurelio De Laurentiis described him as a player who should be closely watched in the future.
He played his first major match with Napoli on 15 August 2007, against Cesena, in the first round of the Coppa Italia; Napoli won the match 4–0, as Hamšík set up the opening goal and subsequently scored the second himself. He scored his first goal in Serie A on 16 September 2007 in the match against Sampdoria.
His football icon is Czech midfielder Pavel Nedvěd, to whom Hamšík has often been compared due to his playing style. In 2007, he was voted the second best Slovak footballer of the year (after Martin Škrtel) and also he was voted the best young Slovak footballer (The Peter Dubovský Trophy). Hamšík ended his first season with Napoli as the club's top scorer, with nine goals from 37 games. At the start of the 2008–09 season, Hamšík scored in both of Napoli's first two games and went on to score a further 9 goals in his second season with the club, finishing as Napoli's top scorer for the second year running. In 2009, he was again runner-up as best Slovak footballer of the year and repeated his success as the best young Slovak footballer.
On 19 September 2010, Hamšík scored Napoli's first goal as they came back from a goal down to defeat Sampdoria 2–1 in Genoa. Following this on 23 September, Hamšík signed a three-year contract extension on his contract that ties him with the club until June 2015. Three days later Hamšík scored his second goal of the new season with an 81st-minute penalty to earn Napoli a 4–1 comeback win away to newly promoted Cesena. On 30 January 2011, Hamšík scored a well taken effort as Napoli hammered Sampdoria 4–0.
The 2010–11 season was very productive for Hamšík as he helped lead Napoli to a very successful season and earn automatic qualification into the Champions League by finishing third in Serie A. Hamšík played in 36 of the 38 Serie A games that season, netting 11 goals and contributing with a further six assists.
Hamšík scored the winning goal in their 2–0 home victory over Villarreal on 27 September, earning Napoli their first ever victory in the UEFA Champions League. On 29 November Napoli welcomed league leaders Juventus to the Stadio San Paolo, Hamšík missed a 15th-minute penalty before heading in a goal to give the hosts the lead seven minutes later. The match was enthralling and ended in a 3–3 draw, after Napoli conceded two late goals to preserve Juventus' unbeaten start to the season.
Hamšík provided an assist for Gökhan Inler's opening goal against Villarreal on 7 December and then scored the decisive goal, helping Napoli to a 2–0 victory in Spain. The win secured qualification to the Round of 16 in a very difficult group, that also included Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Hamšík helped Napoli finish the first half of the 2011–12 campaign on a high, netting a superb goal in their 6–1 hammering of Genoa on 21 December. Hamšík also provided assists for strikes by Goran Pandev and Walter Gargano during the game. Through the first half of the 2011–12 campaign, Hamšík had appeared in 16 Serie A games, contributing with both five goals and five assists. In their European campaign, Hamšík appeared in all six group stage matches and contributed with two goals and an assist.
Following the winter break, Hamšík provided an assist for Edinson Cavani's goal and netted Napoli's third goal in their 3–1 defeat of US Palermo on 8 January 2012. On 13 February 2012, he made his 200th appearance for Napoli in a 2–0 home win over Chievo.
On 9 March, Hamšík signed a one-year contract extension with Napoli, keeping him at the Italian club until June 2016. The announcement was made following Hamšík netting an incredible angled shot against Cagliari Calcio earlier that day, as Napoli ran out 6–3 winners. Hamšík's final goal of the season came in a 2–0 victory Palermo on 1 May, as he doubled their lead in the 35th minute following a penalty from Cavani. Napoli finished the season in fifth place in Serie A and the Slovakian forward contributed with nine league goals and nine assists.
Hamšík was also very influential as Napoli reached the Coppa Italia final against Scudetto winners Juventus on 20 May. After being slipped in by Goran Pandev, Hamšík was one on one with Marco Storari and made no mistake as he touched it past the onrushing Juventus goalkeeper, securing a 2–0 win that delivered The Partenopei their first trophy in over twenty years.
In Napoli's first league fixture of the 2012–13 Serie A season, Hamšík scored the club's first goal and assisted Christian Maggio's strike in an eventual 3–0 defeat of Palermo. Missing leading goal-scorer Edinson Cavani for the club's match against Chievo Verona on 28 October 2012, Hamšík connected on a Juan Camilo Zúñiga cross, giving Napoli a well-earned 1–0 victory. On 6 January 2013, he made his 200th Serie A appearance in a 4–1 home win over Roma. On the penultimate matchday of the Serie A season, Hamšík collected a pass from Goran Pandev and nudged the ball home in the 93rd minute, rescuing a 2–1 win over A.C. Siena, confirming the club's place in the group stages of the Champions League while condemning Siena to relegation. The Slovakian featured in every Serie A game for Napoli during the 2012–13 season, providing 11 goals and 14 assists as the Partenopei finished second behind reigning champions Juventus, a season which proved to be manager Walter Mazzarri's last at the club as he became coach of Inter later that summer.
On 10 August 2013, Hamšík signed a contract extension with Napoli, tying him to the club until the summer of 2018. In the first game of the new Serie A season on 26 August 2013, the Slovakian netted Napoli's second and third goals in the club's 3–0 home defeat of Bologna. Hamšík continued his scoring form in Napoli's following game, netting another brace in their 4–2 away victory over Chievo Verona on 31 August.
Following Paolo Cannavaro's departure to Sassuolo in the 2014 January transfter-window, Hamšík was named Napoli's new captain. On 27 April 2014, he made his 300th appearance for Napoli in a 0–0 draw against Inter. On 3 May 2014, Hamšík played 63 minutes in Napoli's 3–1 win over Fiorentina in the 2014 Coppa Italia Final.
On 27 August 2014, Hamšík scored the opening goal, his first of the 2014–15 season, in the second leg of Napoli's UEFA Champions League Play-off against Athletic Bilbao, as Bilbao came from behind to win the match 3–1 at home and knock Napoli out of the competition. On 20 October, he scored the opening goal in a 2–0 away win over Slovan Bratislava in the club's second group match of that season's UEFA Europa League, making his 40th appearance for the club in UEFA Club competitions in the process, and overtaking Antonio Juliano as the club's record appearance holder in European Club competitions. On 22 December, he lifted the 2014 Supercoppa Italiana as Napoli's captain, defeating Juventus 6–5 on penalties after a 2–2 draw following extra-time. On 22 January 2015, he scored his first Coppa Italia goal of the season in the round of 16 against Udinese, as Napoli went on to win the match on penalties. On 3 May, he scored his 90th goal for Napoli in a 3–0 victory over Milan in Serie A.
Under the club's new manager Maurizio Sarri, Hamšík returned to playing as a central midfielder on the left in Napoli's three-man midfield for the 2015–16 season, which he described as being his preferred role. On 23 August 2015, he scored the opening goal in a 2–1 away defeat to Sassuolo, on the opening match of the season. On 17 September, he scored in a 5–0 win over Bruges in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. He made his 300th Serie A appearance on 6 January 2016, scoring in a 2–1 home win over Torino. In the following league match, on 10 January, he made his 300th Serie A appearance for Napoli in a 5–1 away win over Frosinone, as Napoli finished the first half of the season as unofficial "winter champions"; he marked the occasion by scoring a goal, his 80th in Serie A, all of which were scored with Napoli.
On 6 August 2016, Napoli announced that Hamšík had signed a new four-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2020.
Hamšík represented Slovakia at junior level, playing in the UEFA European Under-17 Championships qualifiers and the UEFA European Under-19 Championships. He played also for the Slovakia national under-21s.
He is a regular member of the Slovak national team. He made his debut on 7 February 2007 in the friendly match against Poland which ended 2–2. He played his second match against Germany in the Euro 2008 qualification, which Slovakia lost 2–1. He became the key member of the attack for the national team, usually playing as a left or central attacking midfielder. Hamšík captained his country in their first World Cup experience in South Africa in 2010, where the team made it to the first knockout stage after defeating then world champions Italy 3–2. Slovakia was defeated by later finalist Netherlands in the first knockout stage.
Hamšík also played a key role in helping his nation qualify for UEFA Euro 2016 for the first time in their history, finishing as his team's top scorer as Slovakia placed second in their qualifying group behind defending champions Spain. Slovakia suffered a closely contested 2–1 defeat to Wales in their opening match of the competition on 11 June; Hamšík came close to opening the scoring in the third minute of play after dribbling past several Welsh defenders, but his strike was denied by Ben Davies's goal-line clearance. In their second group B match of the tournament against Russia on 15 June 2016, Hamšík set up a goal and later scored another himself in a 2–1 win, his nation's first victory in the competition. Following a 0–0 draw against England on 20 June, Slovakia advanced to the second round as the best third-placed team of the tournament; they were subsequently eliminated in the round of 16 on 26 June, after a 3–0 defeat to reigning World Champions Germany.
Style of play
"Hamšík is my heir. He is the footballer who most resembles me in terms of his characteristics and playing style."
Hamšík has been described as "quick, energetic, hard-working, and tactically versatile midfielder, who is capable of playing in several offensive positions on either side of the pitch, or even through the centre". Throughout his career, he has been deployed as a central midfielder, as an attacking midfielder, as a winger, or even as a supporting striker or inside forward on occasion. Although naturally right footed, he is capable of striking the ball well with both feet, and is known for his ability to both score and create goals, often dropping deep to participate in his team's build-up plays. A talented, elegant, and technically gifted advanced playmaker, in addition to his footballing skills, he is also known for his leadership and stamina, as well as his play and intelligence off the ball, in particular his ability to make attacking runs to get into good positions in the opposition's half, and his tireless running.
In July 2014, Hamšík married Martina Fraňová. The couple have two children.
His sister Michaela is married to the Uruguayan footballer Walter Gargano; Hamšik's former teammate at Napoli.
|Slovan Bratislava||2004||2. Liga||6||1||0||0||—||—||6||1|
|1||13 October 2007||Mestský štadión, Dubnica nad Váhom, Slovakia||6||San Marino||1–0||7–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers|
|2||21 November 2007||Stadio Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||9||3–0||5–0|
|3||6 September 2008||Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia||15||Northern Ireland||3–0||5–0|
|4||19 November 2008||Štadión pod Dubňom, Žilina, Slovakia||18||Liechtenstein||1–0||4–0||Friendly|
|6||10 February 2009||Tsirion Stadium, Limassol, Cyprus||19||Ukraine||2–2||2–3|
|7||5 September 2009||Tehelné pole, Bratislava, Slovakia||25||Czech Republic||2–1||2–2||2010 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|8||14 November 2009||28||United States||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|9||15 August 2012||TRE-FOR Park, Odense, Denmark||55||Denmark||2–1||3–1|
|10||12 October 2012||Štadión Pasienky, Bratislava, Slovakia||58||Latvia||2–0||3–0||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|11||10 September 2013||Štadión pod Dubňom, Žilina, Slovakia||67||Bosnia and Herzegovina||1–0||1–2|
|12||12 October 2014||Borisov Arena, Barysaw, Belarus||73||Belarus||1–0||3–1||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|14||18 November 2014||Štadión pod Dubňom, Žilina, Slovakia||75||Finland||2–0||2–1||Friendly|
|15||14 June 2015||78||Macedonia||2–0||2–1||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
|16||12 October 2015||Stade Josy Barthel, Route d'Arlon, Luxembourg||82||Luxembourg||1–0||4–2|
|18||29 May 2016||WWK Arena, Augsburg, Germany||86||Germany||1–1||3–1||Friendly|
|19||15 June 2016||Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France||89||Russia||2–0||2–1||UEFA Euro 2016|
|20||11 November 2016||Štadión Antona Malatinského, Trnava, Slovakia||95||Lithuania||4–0||4–0||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
- Coppa Italia: 2011–12, 2013–14
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2014
- Serie A Young Footballer of the Year: 2008
- Serie A Team of the Year: 2010–11, 2015–16
- Most assists in Serie A: 2012–13, 2014–15
- Peter Dubovský Trophy: 2007, 2008
- Slovak Footballer of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- UEFA Europa League: 2014–15: Squad of the season