NAPLES, Italy (AP) Marek Hamsik became Napoli’s all-time leading scorer after netting his 116th goal for the Serie A club to surpass Argentina great Diego Maradona’s tally on Saturday.
Midfielder Hamsik, who drew level with Maradona last weekend, took the record outright by scoring what proved to be the winner in the 39th minute of Napoli’s 3-2 victory over Sampdoria.
Hamsik was presented with a pair of special shinpads after the match, emblazoned with a picture of himself, the number ”116” and ”Forza Napoli” (“come on Napoli”) over a background of Napoli fans holding aloft team scarves.
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”My teammates gave me a nice surprise with these shinpads,” Hamsik said. ”But what’s important is that we won while suffering. This victory is really worth a lot; Inter lost so it’s worth double.
”It was a hard victory, we used a lot of mental energy to come back and we got the win.”
Napoli trailed twice before Hamsik scored. The win took Maurizio Sarri’s side five points clear of second-placed Juventus, which hosted Roma late, and six clear of Inter after it lost at Sassuolo.
Allan dribbled through three players in the area before picking out Dries Mertens, who rolled the ball across for Hamsik to tap in from close range for his second goal in as many matches.
The Slovakia international was immediately surrounded and embraced by nearly all of his teammates.
It has taken Hamsik 11 seasons and 478 appearances to reach the outright record.
Maradona set the 115-goal mark in 259 games in seven seasons with Napoli. Maradona led Napoli to its only Serie A titles, in 1987 and 1990.
This story has been corrected to show Hamsik plays for Slovakia not Slovenia.