Top scorer for Slovakia with five goals in qualifying, Marek Hamšík will be a crucial presence for the debutants after maturing on the international stage in recent years.
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At a glance
Instantly recognisable thanks to his striking hairstyle, the attacking midfielder has been based in Italy since he joined Brescia as a 17-year-old in 2004, and has evolved into one of the most decisive talents in Serie A. Now 28, the four-time Slovakian player of the year is a creator, finisher and leader for both club and country, having served the Napoli cause with distinction since 2007.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a player who owned a pair of football boots before he was born – his grandfather making the purchase – Hamšík shone at youth level and represented Slovakia's Under-17, U19 and U21 sides before making his senior debut in 2007. He captained his country during their maiden FIFA World Cup outing in 2010 and top-scored for the team on the road to France 2016 with five goals from ten qualifying appearances.
What he offers
Importance for Slovakia
Along with defender Martin Škrtel, Hamšík was the stand-out performer for Slovakia as they earned their first ever UEFA European Championship berth, responding to critics who previously felt he under-performed for the national side. "He's becoming mature," said coach Ján Kozák, who has managed to maximise the midfield schemer's potential at international level. Tactically versatile and an intelligent reader of the game, the Napoli ace is sure to be at the heart of everything the newcomers do well in France.
Debut: Poland 2-2 Slovakia, 7 February 2007 (friendly)
EURO final tournament (Slovakia record)
Appearances: 0 (0)
Goals: 0 (0)