Recognised for his iconic hairstyle. A Serie A and Napoli legend. Today I am going to review Hamšík’s career and discuss his place in the hobby.
From humble beginnings, Marek Hamšík was introduced to football at the age of 4 (1991) when his father enrolled him at private football club Jupie Podlavice.1 Marek excelled at the youth level and in the 1998/99 season, he scored an incredible 111 goals in 38 games.1 In 2002 Hamšík was very close to joining Sparta Prague, but the transfer fell through as his parents were unable to find work in the Czech capital.1 With the deal falling through, Marek signed a professional deal with Slovakian team, Slovan Bratislava.
Aged 17, he played 6 games scoring 1 for Bratislava; resulting in a move to Brescia later that year. Brescia spent 500,000 euros to secure the deal;2 a huge amount for a player his age from the Slovakian Division. The fee could have been larger if Hamsik has signed a contract extension with the Slovak outfit, but he opted to join Brescia; the 500,000-euro fee agreed for compensation.
His debut for his new club came, also, aged 17 in the Serie A. Unfortunately for Brescia, and Hamšík, they finished 19th and were relegated to the Serie B. Hamšík played 2 seasons in the Serie B, with the latter being very successful: playing 40 games and scoring 10.3 This success drew the attention of the bigger teams and Napoli came calling.
Hamšík signed for Napoli for a 5.5-million-euro fee at the start of the 2007/08 season.4 In his first interview Hamšík said, “I am very happy and proud to play for such a prestigious club as Napoli.”5 He well and truly repaid Napoli’s faith in him. By the end of his first season, he finished the top scorer for the club with 9 goals. He repeated this feat in his second season, scoring 11; very impressive for a midfielder! In 2009 he was named the best young player in the Serie A6 and in 2010 he wore Napoli’s armband, becoming the youngest ever Napoli captain.8 He made the Serie A team of the year for the 2010/11 season7 and the following season, he has the most assists, and completed the most minutes of any player in the league (3441).1 Hamšík went from strength to strength with Napoli becoming their permanent captain in 2014,9 winning the Copa Italia10 and the Italian Super Cup.11 2016 and Marek did the unthinkable; he broke Diego Maradona’s goal record for Napoli, with his 115 goals.12
Hamšík finished his time at Napoli with the most appearances in the club’s history (512). His time at Napoli came to an end after 11 and a half years signing for Chinese team Dalian for 15 million euros.13 An incredible piece of business by Napoli, in my opinion. Signed for 5.5 million, club captain, record game holder and clubs goal record; sold for 15 million.
He played 42 league matches for Dalian before seeking a move back to Europe. He got that wish when he moved to Göteborg, March 2021.14 After 6 matches and a spectacular goal, 3 months he moved to one of the Turkish big 4, Trabzonspor.15 Which turned out to be a successful move as Trabzonspor won their first league title in 38 years.16 “Most recently what we did with Trabzonspor. It was something crazy, historic. I will enjoy the cup matches, the league and at the end of the year I will decide what will happen to me next.”17 Hamšík is already a cult figure amongst; his passion and determination won over the Trabzonspor faithful.
He still plays for Trabzonspor, aged 35, and recently scored in their recent Europa league group stage win. “”We started very actively and after a quarter of an hour we took the lead. Trezeguet found me beautifully, I’m very glad I converted the chance. We continued to control the game and added another goal after the change of sides. We had other chances, but the guests scored the goal in the end. We are happy that we pleased our great fans by winning three points. We needed this victory like salt, I believe that we have kicked ourselves and on Sunday we will be successful in the Turkish league as well.”18
Regarded by many as the greatest ever Slovakian player,19 Hamšík has amassed 135 caps for his nation and in 2018 was named he became the Slovak Footballer of the quarter century.20 He recently made the decision to bring a curtain of his international career, “Already in November last year, after the last match in the national team, I started thinking about what to do next in the national team. I didn’t play against Slovenia due to injury, I missed the national team in March, also due to injury. It all fits together. Unfortunately, I decided to quit. I expressed my feelings to coach Tarkovic already in January. Before the last round, he visited me in Istanbul and there I confirmed the decision. That’s how I feel, that’s how I want it. Sure, he talked me into it, but I didn’t give in. My heart wanted to continue, but somewhere I had to slow down. I’m already my age, I’ll be thirty-five this summer. In the last year, there have been frequent injuries. A challenging autumn awaits on the club scene. We will also play European cups. It was a long and insanely beautiful journey. I am proud of her. A lot of matches, a lot of emotions. When I look at my room with trophies and jerseys, it will be beautiful memories. I hope that my farewell, 136th duel in the national team will take place in November.”21
Marek Hamšík plays as a dynamic midfielder with a strong eye for goal. He has played in all positions along the midfield but maybe most effective as an attacking midfielder as he is so dangerous in front of goal. One of his footballing idols growing up was Czech Ballon d’Or winner, Pavel Nedved. Early in Hamšík’s career was quoted, “I would be absolutely delighted if some time in the future people compared me with him.”2His childhood dreams got validation from the man himself! In an interview Nedved said, “Hamsik is my true heir. He is the player who comes closest to me in terms of characteristics and way of playing.”22
Hamšík is coming towards the end of his career. He plays a deeper play-making role at Trabzonspor; this could prolong his career at the top level. I think it would be great if he spent his final years in Slovakia to inspire the next generations. Speaking of inspiring the next generation, Hamsik has opened his own football academy, the Rakytovce Sporting Club Hamsik Academy Banska Bystrica, or RSC Hamsik Academy.17 On the academy Hamšík stated, “The 365 youths in the Marek Hamšík Football School will also be joined by seniors from the third division FK Rakytovce. The new club will be called RSC Hamšík Academy. We want to progress and do everything possible for the children to grow up in excellent conditions. When we finish the complex in Rudlova, football players will have some of the best conditions in Slovakia in terms of pitches and infrastructure. Our goal is for players to stay with us, not leave our club. It will also have a men’s team, players will be able to continue, play in the third or second highest competition. We also have a new bus in RSC colours. I am very happy that Fortuna betting office has become the general partner of our club.”21
Hamšík has certainly has had an epic career and deserves to be in the legends section of this blog! Let’s see what the final years of Marek’s career will bring.
Hamšík’s rookie sticker/card is shown above as the feature imagine. Coming from the Panini Calciatori 2006/07 sticker set, #516.23
An interesting side note to this set. Serie B stickers are traditionally shown as double stickers. For example, Panini usually puts two players on the one sticker. In the 2006/07 set they have individual stickers. This is because Juventus got relegated to the Serie B as a punishment for match fixing. Big players were still at Juventus so Panini made the decision to not use double stickers for this year. Juventus promptly got promoted and the status quo was resumed.
This is why we see Hamšík’s rookie sticker is an individual sticker. No complaints here! They even spelled his name wrong following phonetics rather than the Slovak accents. I personally think this is a great sticker. Not only because Hamšík is a legend in football, but the historical reason for the single sticker is also complimentary. It goes without saying, this sticker is a “must have” for any Slovak collectors. I think also a very interesting piece for Napoli fans. In my opinion, Hamšík is only second to Maradona in Napoli’s history.
I don’t think this sticker will ever been worth big money. I expect it to hover around the 10-20 dollar mark. Nonetheless, a super sticker and one I will never sell!