Atletico Madrid built a team from the defense. Under the guidance of Diego Simeone, the club is known of having a very tight defended team, which is always protected by best goalkeepers.
When David De Gea was sold to Manchester United, Simeone again, found Thibaut Courtois. After Courtois was returned to Chelsea, Jan Oblak’s turn appeared. Oblak even served longer than De Gea and Courtois in Atletico’s red and white vertical uniforms. If he ends his career at Atletico, of course, all parties will be happy.
Oblak was born on January 7, 1993, in Sokfja Lka in Slovenia.
He grew up in a family that loves sports, and interestingly, loves hand-sports. His mother, Stonjanka, is a handball player. His father, Matjaz, even though he was active in a football, preferred the position of the goalkeeper. The only Oblak sibling, his elder brother, Teja Oblak, chose basketball.
Oblak also stated that his biggest idol was Matjaz Oblak, his father. He grew up watching his father become a goalkeeper in the bottom division of the Slovenian League.
He joined the Olimpija Ljubljana academy at the age of 10, then got his first team debut at the age of 16. Thus, he set a record as the youngest boy playing for a professional team in Slovenia.
At that time, the record was assisted by coach Ljubljana. One week in the 2009/10 season, he was punishing his main goalkeeper. His choice fell on Jan Oblak who already became big and had been known for his high leaps despite that he was only 16.
It could be that the coach saw his hard work before giving his debut. Oblak had to drive back and forth from his home to the club’s training headquarters as far as 46 kilometers away. His accidental debut was, in fact, a stepping stone for him to step up a higher career.
He was immediately brought by Benfica only six months after his 17th birthday. He did not directly enter the main squad. He was first loaned to Beira-Mar, Olhanense, Uniao de Leiria and Rio Ave in three years.
The 2013/14 season practically became the first season on which Oblak spent time at Benfica’s first team. He even just became Arthur Moraes’s substitute. He only played in the second round when Arthur did some blunders. In six short months as the main goalkeeper, Oblak appeared very impressive to be named the best Portuguese League goalkeeper during that season.
The offer also came from all around the world. Atletico Madrid, who at that time just lost Thibaut Courtois, seemed to be the most serious club. Oblak, who was only 21 years old, was redeemed at a price of 16 million euros which is the most expensive price for a goalkeeper in La Liga at that time.
In the capital city of Madrid, Oblak had to adapt to new cultures and new languages. He met a strong wall of defense with all his staff speaking Spanish. His competitor goalkeeper, Miguel Moya, and duo center back Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez both speak Spanish, a language that Oblak had never used.
Therefore, Oblak spent the first season for an adaptation event. Diego Simeone also made him became t Moya’s substitute. Luckily, Moya was injured in the final phase of the season, which immediately made Oblak promoted to the next grade.
Since then, Oblak became Atletico’s main keeper. He had remarkably won the Zamora trophy for three seasons in a row, awarding him as a goalkeeper with the fewest concedes in the League. This season, he has also recorded his hundredth clean sheet for Los Colchoneros.
At the age of 26, with a series of his shining record, it would be very difficult for Atletico to hold him if there was any other big offer.
But it is clear that he has climbed a career as one of the best goalkeepers in the world today.
- Marek Hamsik: Maximal Serving for Napoli despite Life Threatened
BIOGRAPHY · JANUARY 11, 2019
If Roma have Francesco Totti, or Inter have Javier Zanetti, then Napoli has Marek Hamsik. A respected charismatic captain throughout the city of Naples who has strengthened the club longer than anyone.
Hamsik, who is also the captain of the Slovak national team, was born on July 27, 1987, in Banska Bystrica, a city in Slovakia surrounded by hills. His mother is a handball player, while his father is the captain of the five-to-five soccer ball of Slovakia. Later, his wife is also a handball athlete.
Little Hamsik played for Jupie Podlavice, a small club in the area. Only in 2002, at the age of 14, he moved to Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia’s biggest club. According to Hamsik, his move to Slovan had to be accompanied by the sacrifice of his parents, who had to sell the only car to finance the education of the Hamsik academy.
Destiny seemed to quickly pick up Hamsik. In just two years, he was contracted by Brescia, a club in northern Italy. At that time, although he only had six senior appearances with Slovan and only turned 17, Brescia had to spend 500 thousand euros.
Moving to a new country at a young age can make someone’s football career stagnate. In fact, Hamsik was at home in Brescia. Peers take turns taking him home to eat together. Italy did not feel foreign to him.
In the 2006/07 season, Brescia competed in B Serie, becoming a competitor for Napoli who had just gone bankrupt. Hamsik scored 10 goals that season. At the end of the season, Brescia failed to be promoted, while Napoli managed to rise caste. Napoli, who already knew the quality of Hamsik, immediately invited him to level up. Napoli needs to pay 5.5 million euros to keep him.
Since being dressed in a blue sky, Hamsik’s career has skyrocketed. In 2007, he was the runner-up of Slovakia’s best player behind Liverpool’s defender Martin Skrtel. In his first season, he has become Napoli’s top scorer with nine goals.
He has never looked at other clubs since becoming a part of the Neapolitan. His arrival at the San Paolo coincided with Ezequiel Lavezzi, an Argentine player who was both expected to be a legend. In fact, Lavezzi was captivated by PSG’s royalty and so do the other stars such as Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain, and Jorginho. They all had been helping each other with Hamsik, but they eventually left.
Only Hamsik survived. Witnessing the coach’s succession and the ups and downs of the mainstay players.
The professionalism and loyalty of Hamsik in the Partenopei are undeniable even though his life was threatened. In November 2011, Hamsik’s pregnant wife was robbed and mugged by a gun. In fact, on the same day, Hamsik still appeared with full of concentration in the Champions League match against Manchester City.
In 2013, it was Hamsik’s turn to be robbed. After a goalless match against Sampdoria, the windshield was broken and he was mugged by a gun. In that incident, he must lose his watch and other valuables.
Hamsik’s dedication, which was never timeless, allowed him to break the club record. With a collection of 74 appearances, he is a Napoli player who has the most appearances in Europe. With a collection of 132 goals, he has surpassed Diego Maradona’s record as the club’s top scorer of all time.
His debt for the Neapolitan club could only be the Scudetto title. The last time Napoli was able to reach it was when they were still strengthened by Diego Maradona.
Now, with Napoli routinely becoming a Juventus serious threat-giver in the highest position of Italian football, we can expect Hamsik to be able to present the A Serie title before retiring…