New Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo will need assistance if he is to elevate the Turin club to Champions League winners, Napoli star Marek Hamsik has said.
The 30-year-old was part of the team that threatened to deny Juve a seventh-successive Serie A crown last season but ultimately came up short.
Nevertheless, he has seemed to hint that the arrival of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for a fee of €100 million (£88m/$117m) is unlikely to alter the dynamic of the league in any dramatic manner.
Indeed, his views seem to echo those of club president Aurelio De Laurentiis, who claimed he turned down Ronaldo, albeit for financial reasons.
“A single player, only one, never wins anything – even if you’re the best in the world,” Hamsik told Corriere dello Sport. “If you’re not Diego Maradona, you can’t win matches alone.”
Maradona’s presence in Napoli from 1984 to 1991 heralded the club’s golden age, but with head coach Carlo Ancelotti arriving this summer to replace Maurizio Sarri, who belatedly moved to Chelsea, Hamsik is confident that they can reclaim the glory days after their near miss.
“We are always those same guys, one year older, interesting signings and team-mate who are returning from the serious injuries that stole them away from us last season,” he said.
“The coup is Ancelotti, if you don’t mind me saying. Napoli has landed the most successful coach available. When Ancelotti told me that he wanted to take us over, he gave me more motivation.”
Certainly, Hamsik feels that there is no shortage of quality among his team-mates.
“This is a team that has gone very close to the dream twice, which is back in the Champions League. Lorenzo Insigne is one of the strongest players around at the moment. And if you’re the best player in a country like this, you’re a top player,” he said.
“Kalidou Koulibaly is valued at €100m, so if that’s his price, what would you call him?
“Then we will see what Piotr Zielinski will become: he’s a talent in its purest form. And they you can add Dries Mertens, who has scored how many goals in the last two years? Someone who scores 50 goals in a couple of seasons is what if not a top player?”
Napoli finished only four points behind Juve last season, and go into this campaign seeking to overturn that gap.