Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik, who moved this winter to Chinese club Dalian Yifang, has told Chinese media that he is struggling to adapt to the new league with teammates who don’t speak a familiar language.
The 31-year-old has made six appearances for Dalian Yifang since joining – all starts – but was dropped out of the squad completely for a 4-1 loss at leaders Beijing Guoan on Sunday. Hamsik admitted that he is in uncharted territory for himself at the new club.
“I am not particularly satisfied with my performances,” the Slovakian international midfielder told Chinese channel China Central Television, as quoted by global news agency AFP. “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 does not have a goal or assist yet in 513 minutes of Chinese Super League play, and he believes it comes down to familiarity. “Many times I want to communicate with my teammates, for example on pitch, but because of the language I can’t, so I can only use gestures,” Hamsik said.
The struggles may not just be down to his new club, however. Hamsik was a bit-part player for Napoli this season before moving on, and in 13 Serie A appearances totaling 922 minutes, he did not register a goal or assist either.
Still, the Slovakian international is not the only one from overseas struggling at Dalian Yifang. His current teammate Yannick Carrasco, who started Super League play with a bang registering three goals in the season’s first two matches, is also said to be wanting out. The Belgian told domestic outlet HLN back in late March, “I would like to return to Europe,” saying that he looked for a way out in the winter but couldn’t make it work.
Carrasco cited the struct rules in China as part of the reason for his uncomfortable state, referring back to a training ground fight last fall that resulted in the Chinese government temporarily revoking his passport, which caused him to miss a pair of international matches. The 25-year-old was benched in the loss at Beijing Guoan on Sunday, left as an unused substitute marking the first match he has missed this season.