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Hamsik remaining grounded after passing Maradona

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Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik played down praise after overtaking the great Diego Maradona in the list of all-time Napoli goalscorers in Serie A.

Hamsik leapfrogged Maradona – who netted 81 league goals in 188 appearances for Napoli between 1984 and 1991 – into second place in the standings with the opening goal in Napoli’s 3-0 victory over Palermo on Saturday – their second successive win of the campaign.

But despite the feat, Hamsik, who is still 24 goals shy of Attila Sallustro’s haul, said he is only focused on his team, not personal achievements.

“I am very happy that I have reached 82 goals, but happier about winning this match,” Hamsik told the club’s website.

“[It is] a great personal satisfaction to have hit this milestone in a blue shirt and to have passed a player like Maradona. But at this time I am happy to have contributed to the success of this evening, which is very important.

“We are a team built with offensive play and precise organisation. Our mentality is always offensive – scoring goals is one of our characteristics – but it is important not to concede goals, as happened tonight.”

Napoli, who occupy second place behind Juventus in Serie A, will now travel to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev in their first Champions League tie of the season.

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Napoli

Napoli pledge funds to earthquake victims

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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will donate a portion of Saturday’s gate receipts from their home match against AC Milan to the earthquake victims of central Italy.

On Wednesday, a quake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale hit the mountainous region of the country 100 kilometres north-east of Rome.

At least 247 people were killed by the damage caused as buildings collapsed in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.

More than 4,300 rescuers have attended the scenes as the search for survivors goes on.

De Laurentiis has vowed to help those affected by the disaster when the rebuilding of the area begins, a process due to be detailed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Thursday.

“I, as everyone, am shocked by the tragic earthquake. I know those parts of the country well, as a child I spent a lot of time there with my family,” De Laurentiis posted on Twitter.

“I have decided to donate part of the collection from Napoli-Milan in favour of the affected population.

“The use of the funds will be defined by mutual agreement with the Civil Defence.”

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Napoli

Napoli plan to limit media commitments

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Napoli have claimed the club’s head coach and players will not speak to the press after late kick-offs away from home this season.

Last season’s Serie A runners-up came two goals down to draw 2-2 at Pescara in the opening game of their Serie A campaign on Sunday, thanks to a Dries Mertens double in the space of three minutes just past the hour mark.

However, Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri did not address journalists after the final whistle.

Napoli went long periods of 2015-16 without fulfilling their media duties, but the club has claimed Sarri’s latest failure to attend a post-match news conference was prearranged.

“Napoli did not enact any press silence yesterday,” the club posted via its official Twitter account.

“In fact, [Marek] Hamsik released an interview at the end of the game.

“We’d already communicated to the Lega Calcio in the morning that, on the occasion of evening games played away, we would not be engaging in media activity.

“This would be the case regardless of results, refereeing decisions or any other event that may happen.”

Lega Calcio, the body that operates Serie A, is yet to publicly comment on Napoli’s stance.

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Zielinski set to join Napoli

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Napoli are closing in on the signing of Piotr Zielinski from Udinese with the Poland international expected to undergo a medical with Serie A side on Thursday.

Zielinski has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool over the past few months, while AC Milan were also credited with an interest in signing the 22-year-old.

However, the midfielder has now all but confirmed that he is on his way to Napoli instead.

“I am coming to Napoli to win things,” he told Sky Sport.

Zielinski’s compatriot Arkadiusz Milik joined Napoli earlier this week and the former Ajax striker has convinced him a move to the San Paolo outfit is the right step.

“Milik has told me a lot of good things,” Zielinski added.

The midfielder joined Udinese from Zaglebie Lubin at the age of 17, but never really managed to secure regular first-team action at the Stadio Friuli.

He impressed on loan at Empoli over the past two seasons, though, and now seems set to continue his career at Napoli.

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