Marek Hamsik confessed he studies Andres Iniesta and wanted to work with Pep Guardiola, but “Napoli is my life and we can win the Scudetto.”
The captain has been at the club for 10 years now and is on the verge of beating Diego Armando Maradona’s goal-scoring club record.
“Napoli is my life now,” he told Il Mattino newspaper. “I don’t know the exact moment that spark of love was lit for this city, but I never felt the need to change because I am happy here.
“I have no regrets at not going to Milan or Juventus, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed.”
Hamsik has also been linked with the biggest clubs abroad, including Barcelona, and is looking forward to facing Manchester City in the Champions League.
“Iniesta is the best of all in my position. I spend hours admiring his performances and studying his movements. I would’ve liked to have worked with Guardiola, but I’m facing him as an opponent in the Champions League. I can’t wait.
“We played our first Champions League game in Manchester and drew 1-1. It was a good result, but we’ve improved a lot since then and are much stronger now. We’ve made significant steps forward.
“We are convinced that we can win the Scudetto. We know that this is the right season to win something very important. We’re giving it our best and the start to this campaign proves how determined we are.
“Juventus are strong, but there’s a long way to go. The Milan clubs have reinforced to target a Champions League spot, if not more, but we’re happy with our start.”
The Slovak international even had a new theory on the ‘territorial discrimination’ chants aimed at Napoli, specifically ‘Vesuvius wash them with lava.’
“It is irritating, but I think they’re jealous… there aren’t many volcanoes in Europe, after all!”
If there is one blemish on his current campaign, it’s the fact Hamsik is always substituted on the hour mark by Coach Maurizio Sarri.
“It does weigh on me that I’m always substituted and Sarri knows that, he can see it.”
Hamsik has now scored 113 goals with the Napoli jersey, so which ones stand out?
“Certainly my first in Serie A, against Sampdoria at the San Paolo, then the one in the Coppa Italia Final with Juventus. Perhaps my best goal was against Milan in 2008, when I ran the entire length of the pitch and shot from the edge of the box.”