Marek Hamsik has admitted that loyalty is a vital component when it comes to his make-up. And it would appear that it is for that reason, as well as professional pride, of course, that he has pledged to redouble his efforts to make a success of his switch from Napoli to Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Hamsik, who is aged 31, is a former Napoli skipper as well as being the club’s all-time leading goal scorer but the goals have dried up somewhat since he departed the Serie A outfit for a lucrative CSL contract back in February.
The move almost never happened. A disagreement over the fee to be paid for his services meant that talks faltered and the Italian club went as far as releasing a statement explaining: “Napoli has decided to suspend the sale of Marek Hamsik to the Chinese club Dalian Yifang because the methods of payment of the amount agreed do not coincide with the agreements previously reached.”
But negotiations were then re-established and eventually a deal was done for a fee believed to be in the region of £18million.
Yet Hamsik is yet to score or chip in with an assist since his arrival and so concerned by his dramatic drop in form is manager Choi Kang-hee that he resorted to leaving the attacker out of the squad for the recent 4-1 loss at league leaders Beijing Guoan.
It remains to be seen if the Slovakian ace will be recalled for the game against Jiangsu Sainty at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre on Sunday. The visitors will undoubtedly have their work cut out by a resolute Jiangsu Sainty side that is fourth in the table and who have won four of their seven league outings. By contrast, Dalian Yifang are placed in 11th position in a league of 16 with just one win in seven matches. It needs to get better all round — and sooner rather than later.
Will Hamsik feature? Well if the goal-getter’s contrite remarks about his displays are anything to by, he could well be worth consideration.
He said: “It’s true that I am not particularly satisfied with my performances. I have always tried my best to help the team but I’ve not encountered a situation like this before. There are big differences between Chinese and European football, but I will try to overcome this and adapt.”
He went on to say that he was surprised by the amount of fouls in the league and how much of actual playing time is negated through elongated discussions with match officials. He also states that perhaps the biggest barrier he faces in China is that of not understanding the language.
He added: “Many times I want to communicate with my team-mates, for example on pitch, but because of the language I can’t, so I can only use gestures. But everyone at Dalian has room for improvement, including myself and I am determined to make the move to China work. Loyalty — whether on the football field or in life — is very important so I will definitely do my best.”