Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Georgian: ხვიჩა კვარაცხელია, romanized: khvicha k'varatskhelia; born 12 February 2001, in short Kvara) is a Georgian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Serie A club Napoli and the Georgia national team. He is considered to be one of the best young players in the world. He is known for his flair, dribbling and playmaking.
|Date of birth||12 February 2001|
|Place of birth||Tbilisi, Georgia|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|2019||→ Lokomotiv Moscow (loan)||7||(1)|
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 16:11, 19 March 2023 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 23:26, 26 September 2022 (UTC)
Coming through the youth system, Kvaratskhelia began his senior career at Dinamo Tbilisi in 2017, making his senior debut against Kolkheti-1913 Poti, coming on as a 62nd minute substitute in a 1–1 draw on 29 September 2017. In total, Kvaratskhelia made five appearances in all competitions for Dinamo Tbilisi, scoring his first goal in a 1–0 win away to Shukura Kobuleti on 18 November 2017.
Due to his performances for Georgia's under-17 team, Kvaratskhelia became the first winner of the newly introduced Aleksandre Chivadze golden medal in 2017, awarded annually by Georgian Football Federation to talented young players. The following year he received a silver medal for his displays for Georgia's under-19's.
In March 2018, Kvaratskhelia left Dinamo Tbilisi as a result of a contract dispute and subsequently signed for Rustavi on a free transfer. In April 2018, Kvaratskhelia was the subject of interest from German champions Bayern Munich and was in attendance for Bayern's 0–0 draw against Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final. During the 2018 Erovnuli Liga season, Kvaratskhelia scored three goals across 18 appearances for Rustavi.
In 2018, The Guardian named Kvaratskhelia among 60 best young players worldwide.
On 15 February 2019, Kvaratskhelia joined Russian Premier League (RPL) club Lokomotiv Moscow on loan. He made his league debut on 10 March as an 86th-minute substitute for Jefferson Farfán against Anzhi Makhachkala. On 1 July, Lokomotiv announced that Kvaratskhelia had left the club after his loan expired. Following the loss of Kvaratskhelia, Lokomotiv Moscow manager Yuri Semin said he was very disappointed after failing to agree on a permanent transfer with Kvaratskhelia as Semin considered him extremely talented.
On 6 July 2019, Kvaratskhelia signed a five-year deal with Rubin Kazan. He played his first game on 15 July against his previous club Lokomotiv, coming on as a substitute in the second half and scoring the equalizer in a 1–1 draw. Kvaratskhelia was named as best player of the match by Rubin fans on the official site of the club.
Overall, his purchase was hailed by several Russian media outlets as the main transfer success for Rubin, who saw the player's market value increased five times in a single season between June 2019 and June 2020. Based on the votes among Rubin supporters, Kvaratskhelia won Player of the Month nomination four times in 2020–21, namely in August, September, October and April.
In early 2021, L'Equipe published a list of 50 best players born in the 21st century, with Kvaratskhelia being the only RPL player to be included.
On 7 March 2022, FIFA announced that, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, foreign players in Russia can unilaterally suspend their contracts until 30 June, and were allowed to sign with clubs outside of Russia until the same date. On 24 March 2022, Rubin Kazan announced that Kvaratskhelia's contract has been suspended. On the same day, he joined Dinamo Batumi of Georgia.
Kvaratskhelia took part in 11 league matches with Dinamo Batumi, scoring eight times and providing two assists. Erovnuli Liga named him the best player of the second round of the season, which coincided with the period between April and July.
On 1 July 2022, Serie A side Napoli confirmed the signing of Kvaratskhelia on a deal lasting until 2027 from Dinamo Batumi for a reported fee of €10–12 million. Kvaratskhelia's debut for the club came on 15 August, in the first matchday of Serie A against Hellas Verona; he scored and assisted in a 5–2 victory. He scored twice in the following matchday against Monza on 21 August, netting his first Serie A brace in a 4–0 win. Following these games, Kvaratskhelia topped the Serie A top scorers' list, becoming the first player in Napoli's history to score three goals in the two opening league matches. Furthermore, he was named Serie A Player of the Month in August 2022.
On 4 October, he scored his first Champions League goal in a 6–1 away win over Ajax. With another goal and an assist in the return leg a week later, Kvaratskhelia was named Man of the Match, and included in the Champions League team of the week. With three goals and an assist during the month of February 2023, Kvaratskhelia was named Serie A Player of the Month for a second time, becoming the first player to win the award multiple times in the same season.
Kvaratskhelia made his debut for the Georgia national team on 7 June 2019, as a starter in a Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibraltar. On 14 October 2020, he scored his first senior international goal in a 1–1 UEFA Nations League draw with North Macedonia. On 28 March 2021, Kvaratskhelia scored against Spain, followed by another goal three days later against Greece. On 11 November 2021, Kvaratskhelia's brace helped Georgia win over Sweden.
He scored three times in four games of the first phase of the 2022–23 Nations League, and topped the list of players in two nominations, including in the overall ranking. In the remaining two autumn games Kvaratskhelia added two more goals, which made him the most prolific Georgian player during this tournament. whoscored.com named him in the Best XI both in June and September and awarded him the highest seasonal rating point (8.2) among Group C team players.
Khvicha is the son of former footballer Badri Kvaratskhelia, He has two brothers, and his younger brother Tornike (b. 2010) also plays football. He has been nicknamed "Kvaradona" after the Napoli legend Diego Maradona, with both of them having very similar dribbling styles.
|Dinamo Tbilisi||2017||Erovnuli Liga||4||1||1||0||—||—||5||1|
|Lokomotiv Moscow (loan)||2018–19||Russian Premier League||7||1||3||0||—||—||10||1|
|Rubin Kazan||2019–20||Russian Premier League||27||3||1||0||—||—||28||3|
|2020–21||Russian Premier League||23||4||0||0||—||—||23||4|
|2021–22||Russian Premier League||19||2||1||0||2[a]||0||—||22||2|
|Dinamo Batumi||2022||Erovnuli Liga||11||8||—||—||—||11||8|
- ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa Conference League
- ^ Appearances in UEFA Champions League
- Scores and results list Georgia's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Kvaratskhelia goal.
|1||14 October 2020||Toše Proeski Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia||North Macedonia||1–0||1–1||2020–21 UEFA Nations League C|
|2||28 March 2021||Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia||Spain||1–0||1–2||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|3||31 March 2021||Toumba Stadium, Thessaloniki, Greece||Greece||1–1||1–1|
|4||11 November 2021||Batumi Stadium, Batumi, Georgia||Sweden||1–0||2–0|
|6||2 June 2022||Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia||Gibraltar||1–0||4–0||2022–23 UEFA Nations League C|
|7||5 June 2022||Huvepharma Arena, Razgrad, Bulgaria||Bulgaria||4–1||5–2|
|8||9 June 2022||Toše Proeski Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia||North Macedonia||2–0||3–0|
|9||23 September 2022||Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia||North Macedonia||2–0||2–0|
|10||26 September 2022||Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar||Gibraltar||1–0||2–1|
- Russian Premier League Best Young Player: 2019–20, 2020–21
- Russian Premier League Best Left Winger: 2020–21
- Georgian Footballer of the Year: 2020, 2021, 2022
- Serie A Player of the Month: August 2022, February 2023
- ^ "Kvaratskhelia is among the 100 best players in the world in 2022". www.pia.ge. 26 January 2023. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- ^ Garganese, Carlo (18 December 2021). "Who is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia? Napoli's 'Georgian Maradona'". www.footballtransfers.com. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- ^ "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia included in 11 best players by int'l football news portal". Agenda.ge. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- ^ a b c Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at Soccerway
- ^ "ალექსანდრე ჩივაძის პრემია". fanebi.com (in Georgian). 28 December 2017.
- ^ "GFF AWARDS 2018". gff.ge (in Georgian). 28 December 2018.
- ^ "ბავშვი, რომელიც ყველას ატყუებს - 10 წლის კვარაცხელია ძმის კვალზე". Adjara Sport (in Georgian). 14 October 2020.
- ^ "17 წლის ქართველი სუპერტალანტი - მიუნხენის ბაიერნს მოსკოვის ლოკომოტივი ეჭიდავება". Europop (in Georgian). 7 August 2018.
- ^ "Next Generation 2018: 60 of the best young talents in world football". theguardian.com, 11 October 2018.
- ^ "Хвича Кварацхелия – в "Локомотиве"" (in Russian). FC Lokomotiv Moscow. 15 February 2019.
- ^ "Anzhi v Lokomotiv game report" (in Russian). Russian Premier League. 10 March 2019.
- ^ "Кварацхелия покинул "Локомотив"" [Kvaratskhelia left Lokomotiv] (in Russian). FC Lokomotiv Moscow. 1 July 2019.
- ^ "Сёмин: из-за ухода Кварацхелии из "Локомотива" у меня потекли слёзы" [Semin: I cried because Kvaratskhelia left Lokomotiv] (in Russian). Championat. 1 July 2019.
- ^ "ХВИЧА КВАРАЦХЕЛИЯ СТАЛ ИГРОКОМ "РУБИНА"" [Khvicha Kvaratskhelia became a Rubin player] (in Russian). FC Rubin Kazan. 6 July 2019.
- ^ "Кварацхелия признан болельщиками «Рубина» лучшим игроком матча с «Локомотивом»". sovsport.ru (in Russian), 18 July 2019.
- ^ "10 лучших молодых игроков РПЛ, которые раскрылись в сезоне 2019/20". championat.com (in Russian), 31 July 2020.
- ^ "ხვიჩა კვარაცხელია რუბინის თვის საუკეთესო მოთამაშე გახდა". silksport.ge (in Georgian). 3 May 2021.
- ^ "Кварацхелия вошел в топ-50 молодых игроков в мире, первый — Фати". sport-express.ru (in Russian), 12 February 2021.
- ^ "FIFA adopts temporary employment and registration rules to address several issues in relation to war in Ukraine". FIFA. 7 March 2022.
- ^ ""РУБИН" И ХВИЧА ДОГОВОРИЛИСЬ О ПРИОСТАНОВКЕ КОНТРАКТА" (Press release) (in Russian). FC Rubin Kazan. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
- ^ "Say what?". Dinamo Batumi. 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
- ^ "ელიგის მეორე წრეში საუკეთესო კვარაცხელიაა". 1tv.ge (in Georgian). 23 June 2022.
- ^ "NAPOLI FORMALIZES THE PURCHASE OF KVARATSKHELIA OUTRIGHT". Napoli. 1 July 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
- ^ "Khvicha Kavaratskhelia hits New Record with his Transfer to Napoli". CBW. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
- ^ Arcari, Marco (15 August 2022). "Calcio, Serie A – Verona-Napoli 2–5: Kvaratskhelia show all'esordio, gol e assist per il georgiano". Eurosport (in Italian). Retrieved 20 August 2022.
- ^ "È Kvaratskhelia show: doppietta da applausi. E il Napoli travolge 4-0 il Monza". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 22 August 2022.
- ^ "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia first Napoli player to score 3 goals in 2 opening games". agenda.ge, 24 August 2022.
- ^ "KVARATSKHELIA VOTED SERIE A PLAYER OF THE MONTH". football-italia.net. Retrieved 2 September 2022.
- ^ "Ajax 1–6 Napoli". UEFA. 4 October 2022.
- ^ "Kvaratskhelia eletto come "Man of the Match" di Napoli-Ajax" (in Italian). calcionapoli1926.it. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
- ^ "Champions League team of the week: Gameweek 4". 90min.com. 13 October 2022.
- ^ a b "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia EA Sports Player of the Month for February". Serie A. 10 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
- ^ "Georgia v Gibraltar game report". UEFA. 7 June 2019.
- ^ "Macedonia - Georgia match report". MacedonianFootball. 14 October 2020.
- ^ "GREECE - GEORGIA". Eurosport. 31 March 2021.
- ^ "Georgia - Sweden". uefa.com. 11 November 2021.
- ^ "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia leads UEFA Nations League players' ranking". agenda.ge. 15 June 2022.
- ^ "UEFA Nations League C Grp. 4 statistics". whoscored.com. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
- ^ "Meet Khvicha Kvaratskhelia: Who is Rubin's dazzling tiny dancer?". Russian Premier League. 24 October 2020.
- ^ ბავშვი, რომელიც ყველას ატყუებს - 10 წლის კვარაცხელია ძმის კვალზე
- ^ 5 minutes with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia | 5 minuti con Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, retrieved 7 September 2022
- ^ Nechepurenko, Ivan; Smith, Rory (26 October 2022). "The Instant Legend of Kvaradona". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
- ^ "UEFA Nations League Wrap: The 'Georgian Messi' is taking football by storm". Optus Sport. 27 September 2022. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
- ^ Saab, Basil (8 September 2022). "Napoli pounced as rivals slept on 'Georgian Messi'". BeIN Sports Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
- ^ Bandini, Nicky (22 August 2022). "'Kvaradona' has Napoli fans daring to dream after summer of discontent". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
- ^ Bysouth, Alex (7 September 2022). "Who is the Napoli winger Kvaratskhelia who's dubbed as Kvaradona?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
- ^ Khvicha Kvaratskhelia at WorldFootball.net
- ^ "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
- ^ "Kvaratskhelia, Khvicha". National Football Teams. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
- ^ ""Локомотив" – обладатель Олимп-Кубка России по футболу" [Lokomotiv is the winner of the Olimp-Russian Cup] (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 22 May 2019.
- ^ "All individual award winners for RPL 2020/21 season". Russian Premier League. 26 May 2021.
- ^ "Итоги Исполкома РФС". Российский футбольный союз (in Russian). Retrieved 14 January 2023.
- ^ "საქართველოს საუკეთესო ფეხბურთელი ხვიჩა კვარაცხელია გახდა". worldsport.ge (in Georgian). 29 December 2020.
- ^ "წლის ხვიჩა - ფეხბურთელი საუკეთესო 2021 კვარაცხელია". crystalsport.ge (in Georgian). 29 December 2021.
- ^ "GFF-მა წლის საუკეთესო ფეხბურთელები დაასახელა". forbes.ge (in Georgian). 27 December 2022.
- ^ "Khvicha Kvaratskhelia EA Sports Player of the Month for August". Serie A. 9 September 2022. Retrieved 9 September 2022.
- Profile at the S.S.C Napoli website
- Profile at UEFA
- Profile at FC Rubin Kazan (in Russian)