Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Marek Hamsik struggling to adapt in China weeks after move from Napoli

Slovakian midfielder, who is yet to score or assist, admits communication is the biggest issue

Marek Hamsik became Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer during 11-and-a-half years at the club, but has so far struggled to replicate that form in China. EPA
Marek Hamsik became Napoli's all-time leading goalscorer during 11-and-a-half years at the club, but has so far struggled to replicate that form in China. EPA

Marek Hamsik may be one of the most accomplished footballers to take his talents to China, but the Slovakian midfielder has admitted he is struggling to adapt since joining Dalian Yifang in February.

Hamsik, 31, became one of the leading midfielders in Europe during 11-and-a-half years at Napoli, becoming the Serie A club'a all-time leading goalscorer.

He joined Dalian Yifang for €13 million in February and made his debut on the opening day of the Chinese Super League season in a 1-1 draw at Henan Jianye.

But less than two months later, Hamsik was dropped from the squad for Sunday's 4-1 loss away to table-toppers Beijing Guoan, having failed to score or register an assist in six games.

"I am not particularly satisfied with my performances," the Slovakian international midfielder told CCTV. "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."

Former Napoli captain Hamsik said the biggest problem he faces in China is the language barrier.

"Many times I want to communicate with my teammates, for example on pitch, but because of the language I can't, so I can only use gestures," he said.

Dalian have won just once in seven CSL matches and there is uncertainty about the future of Yannick Carrasco, the Belgium international winger who was an unused substitute in the weekend's heavy defeat.

Hamsik said that "everyone (at Dalian) has room for improvement, including myself", but he is determined to make the move to northeast China work.

"Loyalty - whether on the football field or in life - is very important so I will definitely do my best," he added.

Updated: April 30, 2019 03:14 PM

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