James McGhie: Favorite All-Time Hamsik Goal

I’m someone who ties a lot of what goes on in my life to good memories, moments which interlink with one another to create that feel-good factor. And that’s why my favourite Marek Hamsik goal is one which not many would consider; at least I don’t think they would.

The date was November 1st 2016 and Napoli were away from home against Besiktas in the UEFA Champions League. Having gone 1-0 down in the 78th minute to a Ricardo Quaresma penalty, Napoli were looking down the barrel of back-to-back defeats against the Turkish side having already lost 3-2 at San Paolo, a result which would have put qualification for the last 16 at severe risk.
However, with just 8 minutes of the match remaining, Amadou Diawara played the ball into Dries Mertens on the edge of the Besiktas box. It wasn’t the best pass but Dries somehow managed to flick it on with a combination of his right knee and thigh, straight into the path of the onrushing Marek Hamsik who, from 10-15 yards outside the penalty area, took one touch to settle himself and another to send a curling left foot shot fizzing into the bottom corner.
If the finish was beautiful the celebration was equally so as Marek ran the entire length of the pitch, roaring and beating the Napoli crest on his chest as the boos from the stands of the Vodafone Arena grew even louder before Marek slid to his knees in front of the travelling Napoli support to bask in their adoration.
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On a personal level, this goal is a favourite because I was on a family holiday in Puerto Del Carmen in Lanzarote with my wife and then 4 year old niece. I had previously in the day gone to every sports bar on the main strip to ask if they would show the Napoli game, before finally finding one which would accommodate.
From a Napoli perspective however, I think this goal had huge, long lasted, and potentially deep rooted implications. Had we lost to Besiktas, there’s every chance we would not have gone on to face Real Madrid in the last 16, two games which no fan could argue helped to mould the renewed mindset of the current Napoli squad. 
Without those two games, would Napoli be where they are now? Would we have grown, mentally, into the team that would go unbeaten domestically for the remainder of the season and start this season in the manner we have? 
And that’s why it’s my favourite Marek Hamsik goal. Grande Capitano e Forza Napoli Sempre.

By James McGhie

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