Thursday January 18 2018
Hamsik: ‘Scudetto the main goal’

Napoli captain Marek Hamsik says the Scudetto is his “main objective”, but admits he could miss Atalanta on Sunday.

The midfielder is now the Partenopei’s all-time top-scorer, having beaten Diego Maradona’s record before Serie A went on its winter break.

“I had been waiting for that 115th goal to match Maradona, and I got it in the Torino match,” Hamsik told Slovakian outlet Pravda.

“A lot had been written about it and everyone was looking forward to that moment. When it came it was beautiful.

“It was the same when I got my 116th goal against Sampdoria. When 60,000 fans stood and screamed my name at the San Paolo I got chills.

“It’s something unrepeatable, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.

“The appearance record and 100 Serie A goals? There are always other challenges which motivate me. I’d be delighted if I achieved them, it would mean I was still successful in representing the club.

“Then after me someone else will come along who will beat me. I’ve got no doubts about my future, I’m a Napoli player and I’m not going to leave.

“Now I’m concentrating on finally bringing the Scudetto to Naples, that’s my main objective.

“Last year we were the best team from the spring onward, now we’re on an incredible run. Having lost only one match at the halfway point is an incredible record.

“I believe we can keep this up and celebrate the Scudetto.

“It’s simple, we can’t drop points. Of course it’s easy to say that than to do it on the pitch. In order to get as many points as possible we’ll need to be good, in particular defensively.

“It’s important that the table has started to take shape a bit, there are no longer five teams separated by two points at the top.

“We’re at the top, then there’s Juventus and the other teams are nine points or more behind us. Juventus are without doubt our toughest opponent, but I don’t even want to talk about other teams.”

Napoli face Atalanta this weekend, a match which they’ve struggled in recently…

“We’re playing at their stadium and it’ll be a very difficult match. We’ve struggled against this opponent, last year they beat us in both games and they knocked us out of the Coppa Italia at the start of this year.

“After the break this could affect things going forward, but it definitely won’t be decisive - it’s too early for that.”

There’s no guarantee the Slovakia captain will be ready for the match, as he’s missed training with flu-like symptoms this week.

“My throat was sore and I had a temperature,” Hamsik explained.

“I missed training on Tuesday, we’ll see how it develops. The doctors are helping me, but I can’t say if I’ll be ready for Sunday’s match.”

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