Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik has warned Barcelona that the Azzurri can “give them trouble” ahead of their meeting in the Champions League.
The Slovenian left the San Paolo in February 2019 but has been following his former club closely and feels the Azzurri have improved after the appointment of Gennaro Gattuso.
Ahead of the big match against the Blaugrana in the last 16 of the competition, the former captain has claimed the Partenopei could upset the Spanish league leaders.
“With Gattuso we have improved,” Hamsik told Marca. “Now we are more compact, more than we were.
“We’ll see if we can give Barcelona trouble. We are waking up and we need to at least qualify for the Europa League or the Champions League.”
He admits that Napoli face a massive challenge and might need “a kind of miracle” to get past Barcelona in the last 16 – a feat the Partenopei have yet to achieve in the competition.
“It would be a kind of miracle, but in football everything is possible,” he added. “We are strong at the San Paolo. We have defeated anyone there.
“You will see our strength. It will be difficult for Barcelona. They play well and [Lionel] Messi is the best in the world, but Napoli shouldn’t be afraid to attack them. Barcelona concede a lot in defence.”
Dries Mertens can surpass Marek Hamsik as the all-time leading goalscorer at Napoli and the former Azzurri captain has praised both the Belgian and the current captain Lorenzo Insigne.
“Dries will beat my record and I congratulate him,” Hamsik said. “He is great. I’m proud to have beaten [Diego] Maradona’s record, but now it’s his turn.
“Insigne is from Naples and he is a great captain. With Gattuso, he has become even stronger.”
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