Napoli's Marek Hamsik 'deserves bigger club' - Slovakia boss Kozak
Slovakia coach Jan Kozak said Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik showed he "deserves a bigger club" after his performance in Wednesday's 2-1 win over Russia at Euro 2016.
Hamsik produced a superb long pass for Vladimir Weiss to open the scoring on 32 minutes, and the 28-year-old then got his own name on the scoresheet just before the break, cutting back on to his right foot and bending a beautiful shot in off the far post.
Russia pulled one back through Denis Glushakov's header with 10 minutes remaining, but it was too little too late as Slovakia bounced back from their opening Group B defeat to Wales.
Kozak was quick to praise Hamsik after the match, telling reporters: "He was superb with the ball but also helped a lot in defence and scored a beautiful goal."
He praised Hamsik and Weiss' efforts on the opening goal, which changed the direction of the match.
"To that point, it was all so tight and so tense, there was no space in which to play for either side," he said. "We were only going to break the ice through an individual bit of genius and we got that from Hamsik and Weiss. They were fantastic."
He said Hamsik "has become mature on a personal and football level" and is now one of the "leaders" in the team.
Hamsik joined Napoli from Brescia in 2007, but Kozak said he "deserves a bigger club for his performances" and added: "I think Napoli has become too small for him. He deserves to play at a really big club.''
Hamsik himself had told reporters after the match that he was happy with his current club.
Asked if he could go to a bigger level, he said: "I don't know. I'm glad for what I can achieve so far in my career.
"I'm sure there's room for improvement. Hopefully my future will still be in Napoli."
Hamsik also said he was "very proud and happy" to have played his part in giving Slovakia their first ever European Championship victory, and the result gives them a solid platform ahead of their final group game against England on Monday.
However, Hamsik said: "I'm sure it will be tougher than these two matches, against the big favourite of the group."
Kozak, meanwhile, said Slovakia had proved a point with the victory in Lille, even if he had endured an "emotional rollercoaster" as Russia threatened a late comeback.
"Despite a never-ending last few minutes for me, we did it. We proved we could beat Russia, despite many people doubting us," he said.
"The match against England is next, and we have to start preparing for that tie."
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