Marek Hamsik has spoken of the bond he feels to the city of Naples, his total admiration for Diego Maradona and praised Zlatan Ibrahimovic in an exclusive interview with discovery+ Sweden.
The 33-year-old Slovakian attacking midfielder moved to IFK Göteborg after terminating his contract at Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional, with whom he had plied his trade since a 2019 switch from Serie A outfit Napoli.
Hamsik was for a time Napoli's leading scorer, superseding Diego Maradona but has since been surpassed by Dries Mertens. The forward told discovery+ Sweden that his personal connection to the club runs deep.
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“Napoli has a special place in my heart – it is a club that I played for for 11-and-a-half years," Hamsik said.
I had offers from elsewhere [while I was at Napoli] but I never considered it. It was the right choice.
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Napoli's stadium has recently been renamed the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium after the club's iconic playmaker. Hamsik, who scored 121 goals in 150 games for the club, spoke of his relationship with the Argentine star.
“When I became Napoli’s leading goalscorer. I spoke to Maradona on the telephone, we texted each other and we exchanged signed t-shirts. It was fantastic," added Hamsik.
He was one of the biggest [greatest]. He was something incredible, fantastic.
Captain of his national team, Hamsik has signed with IFK Göteborg to retain his fitness ahead of the Euros. He reserved special praise for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is set to come out of retirement for the Swedish national team ahead of the showpiece event.
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He added: “I think he is a hero for a lot of Swedish people, but also for [professional football] players because he is still playing at 39. And to be doing what he is doing at 39 is incredible.”
He has had a great season at AC Milan.
Hamsik spoke to discovery+ Sweden after making a surprise switch to IFK Göteborg, who finished 12th in the Allsvenskan last season. Göteborg last won the league in 2007.
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