It seems like we need to have this talk far too often, but it's time once more to have it: no, Marek Hamsik isn't going anywhere. He's staying with Napoli. He loves Naples and doesn't particularly want to go anywhere else.
That doesn't stop people from speculating that he's going to move, though. One week it's a guaranteed move to Chelsea. The next, Manchester United. The next? Paris Saint-Germain. No, wait, it's Manchester City. No, Liverpool! It's a tired game, and Hamsik would really like to stop playing it.
"Marek only wants the Azzurri colors," said his agent Juraj Venglos recently. "There were some huge clubs with an interest in Hamsik, but he chose to stick with Napoli." And that's what the story has been for years: big clubs come sniffing, but Hamsik just crosses his arms and keeps sitting right where he is. Napoli is his club and Naples is his home.
That attitude drew remarkable criticism from the man who was his agent some years ago, Mino Raiola. The agent-slash-football-power-broker lit in to Hamsik recently, saying that he "didn't understand" and "couldn't agree" with Hamsik's desire to just be a Napoli player, saying that he would have had Hamsik move on big-money deals "four or five times" by now if he'd had his way. He accused Hamsik of not wanting "it," presumably meaning money and fame, enough to truly be a star player.
And maybe Raiola is right. Maybe Hamsik's preference to stay put has held him back to some nebulous degree. But more likely, he's just a puffed-up egomaniac who likes to hear himself talk.
That type of attitude is far too pervasive in football these days: chase the money, chase the glory, damn the consequences. It's left clubs in financial ruin too often and given many players a "mercenary" tag that leaves a sour taste in fans' mouths.
Hamsik, though, wants the best for Napoli and the club's fans. He knows that as long as he can help push the club to greater glory, he has a place and a role there, and he wants to fulfill the promise of that role to his fullest extent. That's why he's the captain, that's why he's almost universally beloved by the fanbase. He's not just a football player trying to win trophies, he's home and trying to do the best he can for those around him. Just let him be and do his thing. If you haven't noticed, he's playing much, much better of late, and it's been a treat to watch unfold.
Having loyalty to one club isn't a bad thing. In fact, it can be a great asset to both club and player. Hamsik's rise in quality has helped lift Napoli along the way, and they've rewarded him financially as they've been able to afford to. Now Napoli are a budding international power, with Hamsik at the heart of it. If Raiola had gotten his way, who knows what Napoli would look like right now without Hamsik?