After Napoli have seen two players felled by injury during the international break so far, fans could understandably be concerned at first seeing the news that Marek Hamsik was leaving the Slovakia squad early. Finding out that Napoli's captain was hurt too would be a shot to the gut. But it's actually good news! He's just getting to come home early, and is perfectly healthy!
Hamsik is one of three Slovakia players to get permission to leave early, as part of the national team's agreement with their respective clubs. Juraj Kucka of Milan and Martin Skrtel of Liverpool are also returning ahead of schedule after the trio played significant minutes in Slovakia's 3-2 win over Switzerland on Friday. With Slovakia having won the sterner test of their two friendlies during this break, they elected to experiment with other players for their match against Iceland this week, and let the veteran trio get a little bit of extra rest in before their clubs start playing matches again next weekend.
For his part, Hamsik played very well as he captained Slovakia to that win over the Swiss. He played 87 minutes and had a hand in creating all three of his team's goals, as well as commanding significant attention from the Swiss defense. He also beat Gokhan Inler a couple of times, which was probably a bittersweet moment for Napoli fans watching.
It's good to see Hamsik get a chance to get some extra time to rest and recover. He's had to play heavy minutes this season because of Napoli's lack of a natural backup for him, and his form had suffered over the last few weeks because of it. Getting even just a few extra days to recuperate could be vital for Hamsik to get back to his best.
To be honest, though, we're mostly just glad that he's not hurt.