Sports News

Young Hamsik is Slovakia's jack of all trades

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Marek Hamsik is a gifted attacking midfielder with outstanding playmaking abilities and a keen eye for goal.

The 22-year-old should be one of Slovakia’s key players at the World Cup after enjoying an excellent season with Napoli, for whom he scored 12 goals.

Hamsik needed just six games in the Slovakian first division with Slovan Bratislava in 2004 to catch the eye of Brescia scouts. He moved to Italy the same year, scoring 10 goals in 65 games for the former first division side before he was signed by Napoli in 2007.

Although he still has room to develop, Hamsik has the pace, dribbling skills and striking ability to make him a handful for any defense.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentis described him as a player for the future after paying 5.5 million euro ($7.4 million) to sign him on a five-year contract, but the playmaker needed no time to adapt.

In his first season in Naples, he scored nine goals in 32 games and matched the tally in 2008-09 having played five fewer games, finishing both seasons as the club’s top scorer.

Hamsik’s effervescent performances also kept Napoli in the hunt for a Champions League berth until the closing stages of the season.

He played eight matches and scored twice in Slovakia’s qualifiers and set up several goals in their impressive run.

Hamsik’s idol is Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved and if the early stages of the Slovakian’s career are anything to go by, he has a good chance of developing into the same kind of player.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Robert Woodward