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Hamsik leaves China for Sweden

Former Napoli star shocks fans with move to surprise destination

March 12, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
The 33-year-old's move has caused a stir among fans in his native country as well as in his new destination.

It's pretty much a well-known fact that football is quite unpredictable. From shock results to interesting transfers, the sport described as the beautiful game constantly keeps its fans on its toes.

On Monday, Swedish club IFK Göteborg announced they'd made a huge signing: Slovak star Marek Hamsik. The 33-year-old is certainly a familiar one for calcio fans as he spent nearly 12 years at Napoli, becoming its captain for several seasons and finishing his career as the club's all-time top goalscorer. This record has been since beaten by Dries Martins (in 2020), but Hamsik still holds the record  for the most appearances.

In 2019, he decided to try his luck in the Chinese Super League. Dalian Professional reportedly paid €13 million for his services. Four months later, he was joined by his former coach with the Azzurri, Rafael Benitez.

However, the marriage between Dalian Professional and Hamsik (as well as Benitez) was short-lived. Both coach and player, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was raging through the country and disrupted travel from abroad, opted to terminate their respective contracts and look for opportunities elsewhere.

With EURO 2020 on the horizon, Hamsik naturally needed to find a way to keep himself fighting fit as he looks to have a successful tournament. However, with all the transfer windows in the "Big 5" leagues closed, he had to be a bit more creative. That's where the Allsvenskan came into play, and subsequently, he decided to sign IFK Göteborg on a six-month contract

The Änglarna, who finished in 12th place last season, haven't won the league since 2007, albeit they finished as runners-up in 2015.  And given that Hamsik is not only Slovakia's most capped player, but also the nation's all-time top goalscorer, fans and journalists alike were certainly buzzing with his arrival.

Anton Zetterman, who writes for publication FotbollDirekt, is clearly among those who can't believe Hamsik is arriving to play in Sweden's top flight.

"It's totally surreal, [because in terms of] foreign players in Allsvenskan, he's the biggest [player] ever," Zetterman remarked in a recent interview.

"[In fact], only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played eight games for Malmo before leaving for Ajax, [is comparable]...when it comes to class and quality."

So it's not surprising Hamsik's arrival in Sweden brought quite a sizeable crowd to welcome him:

Indeed, the Hamsik effect is already in full swing, as his new club noted that over a thousand Hamsik-related items were snatched up by eager fans in only a few hours. And unlike other stars, he isn't costing them a fortune - in fact, he'll make only €10,000 per month for his short stay. Göteborg will also gain some additional cash in their coffers if Hamsik, as expected, takes part in this summer's EURO 2020 tournament, while the Slovak attacker is free to leave if another club turns his head.

Sweden's top flight resumes on Sunday, April 11th, so fans don't have to wait too long to potentially see Göteborg's new acquisition in action.

Make sure you don't miss out on Hamsik and others by bookmarking our bespoke Allsvenskan page.

 

 


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