The pair played in midfield together in Naples, where the Slovakian has since gone on to become a cult figure at the fanatical Serie A club
Marek Hamsik has left his mark on Napoli and his old team-mate Samuele Dalla Bona thinks that he can be compared to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
The 29-year-old just marked his 10th anniversary at the Naples club and has snubbed several offers over the years to depart Partenopei.
Dalla Bona was part of the team with Hamsik that got Napoli promoted to Serie A as they completed the resurrection of the club after bankruptcy in 2004.
Hamsik was only a youngster when he lined up alongside the former Chelsea player and Dalla Bona has been impressed with how his career has developed.
“I liked to play with Hamsik, even then I saw that he was a very good player,” Dalla Bona told Goal. “He has a [good] left foot and right foot. He is a great runner, he’s not in the style of Pirlo but he’s technical too. A very good player.
“He was very young when I saw him. You could see he was a very good player but I didn’t know that he would become this good. He does deserve everything he has because he is very professional and a great footballer now.
“Yes, I am a little surprised he stayed. He had offers but he never wanted to change clubs. Napoli became a very big team with him. It was good for him to stay there, live there, buy a house there, raise his family there.
“Maybe like Totti, he could have had the chance to go away but he didn’t choose to do it. It is a respectable decision because he feels good there. He has a good contract and it has been good for him to stay.
“They love him a lot in Naples. He is a legend for Napoli. He is a big legend. He is like Steven Gerrard in Liverpool. He is parallel to Gerrard, he is a top player and a leader. I played against Gerrard and with Hamsik. They are both at the top of their profession.”
Dalla Bona left Napoli in 2011 to join third division team Mantova after the illness of his father and he is looking to get back into football after falling out of the game.
However, he looks back fondly on his time in Naples as he played his part to get Napoli back to where they belong. His wonder-goal against Treviso capped off an impressive campaign to help get the club promoted in 2007, and he is thankful for his reception in the city.
“It was a very crazy city. I loved it at Napoli, the first year was good in Serie B. We got promoted and I scored six or seven goals and then I had a problem with the coach and it finished like this.
“Napoli is a beautiful place to have played football, it is like the opposite of what I experienced in London. Very different indeed but still a beautiful time that I remember fondly to this day.”