Marek Hamšík has become only the fourth player to win two Slovak Footballer of the Year awards after receiving the 2010 gong in Bratislava on Sunday.
The SSC Napoli playmaker edged striker Róbert Vittek into second place in the annual poll organised by daily newspaper Pravda in cooperation with the Slovak Football Association (SFZ). Another two-time winner, Liverpool FC's Martin Škrtel, finished third in the voting for an award now named after national favourite Ján Popluhár, the former Czechoslovakia defender, who died on 6 March.
"To repeat a victory is always much harder," said Hamšík, the 2009 winner. "I'm proud to do it, especially after a year like 2010. Napoli played in the Europa League, finished sixth in Serie A and Slovakia played at the World Cup, eliminating Italy to reach the knockout rounds. I hope other seasons are as successful as this has been."
Few would bet against it, although having assumed the national-team captaincy and had his first child in January, the 23-year-old has set an impressive high-water mark. Given another Slovak Footballer of the Year prize, the former Brescia Calcio man will move ahead of Škrtel and Marek Mintál to match Dušan Tittel's record of three titles.
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