Marek Hamsik is proud to have “dedicated my entire career to Napoli”, and hopes Lorenzo Insigne will inherit his captain’s armband.
The Slovakian has been with the club for 11 years, becoming their all-time top-scorer last season.
Barring injury he should break Giuseppe Bruscolotti’s appearance record this season, and at the launch of his new autobiography he discussed his connection to the club and city.
“When I arrived in Naples I didn’t know what to expect,” Hamsik admitted.
“There were thousands of fans here. That was my best moment along with the Coppa Italia win, which we celebrated in the city, and breaking Diego [Maradona]’s goal record.
“I felt the love of the fans from the first day, and ever since then they’ve become even more affectionate.
“The warmth of the people is beautiful, it doesn’t happen to everyone. I’m proud of the relationship I have with this city.
“It’s difficult to go out for that reason, there’s a lot of love and it’s hard to hide! The only places I haven’t been are Naples Underground and to Vesuvius, but I’ll go there.
“I’m tied to this shirt, that’s why I’ve stayed here for almost 12 years. Maybe I’ll even stay after football.
“I’ve dedicated my entire career to Napoli, and I’m proud of that.
“My successor as captain? I hope with all my heart that it goes to Lorenzo, he’s a Neapolitan and he cares a lot about this club. He’s already a symbol and he’s already a captain-in-waiting.”
Bruscolotti gave up the captain’s armband to Diego Maradona for the Scudetto, would Hamsik do the same?
“Unfortunately we don’t have Maradona! We have strong players, but not Diego… If it was 100 per cent assured, then yes.”
The midfielder was also asked about his worst moment in a Napoli shirt, which most would assume to be last season’s defeat at Fiorentina which saw the Scudetto slip out of reach.
“There were others,” Hamsik said.
“Maybe that hurt the most because we were so close, but there were others. It’s part of the game, and professionals have to forget quickly and keep fighting.
“We’re sorry about that game, we believed - the whole city believed.
“It went how it went, but we’re not just interested in Saturday [against Fiorentina] but the whole year. The dream is the same, because this city deserves it.”
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