Hamsik struggling to adapt to Chinese football

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Xinhua/Alberto Lingria

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Marek Hamsik says that he is struggling to settle in Chinese football and admitted he has problems communicating with his Dalian Yifang team-mates.

The 31-year-old, Napoli’s all-time leading goal-scorer, left Serie A for the Chinese Super League (CSL) in February but has failed to find the net or provide an assist in six games.

Hamsik was dropped for Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at top-of-the-table Beijing Guoan and did not even make the bench.

“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.”

Hamsik said that he was surprised by the number of fouls in the CSL and how much playing time is lost because of that and disputes with referees.

Hamsik, who spent 12 years at Napoli including a stint as captain, said the biggest problem he faces in China is the language barrier.

“Many times I want to communicate with my team-mates, 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 Belgian 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.

For his performances, Hamšík has also won several individual awards: he is a six-time winner of the Slovak Footballer of the Year Award, and he was named Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2008.

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