Levan Kobiashvili (Georgian: ლევან კობიაშვილი, born 10 July 1977) is a Georgian former professional footballer and the current president of the Georgian Football Federation and a member of Parliament of Georgia.
|Full name||Levan Kobiashvili|
|Date of birth||10 July 1977|
|Place of birth||Tbilisi, Soviet Union|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|1997||→ Alania Vladikavkaz (loan)||21||(5)|
|1998||→ SC Freiburg (loan)||26||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He played primarily as a left wingback or left winger. During his career, Levan played for Gorda Rustavi, Dinamo Tbilisi, Alania Vladikavkaz and three German clubs: SC Freiburg, Schalke 04 and Hertha BSC.
Kobiashvili began his career in hometown club Avaza Tbilisi. His first professional club was Gorda Rustavi where he made debut in the Umaglesi Liga in 1993. After spending two years with the Rustavi-based club, Kobiashvili moved to Dinamo Tbilisi in 1995. Under the guidance of famous former player and then-Dinamo coach David Kipiani, Kobiashvili became one of the key players of the club.
At the start of the year 1997, Alania Vladikavkaz declared their interest in Georgian midfielder. Dinamo Tbilisi let Kobiashvili leave the club on a season long loan deal. Kobiashvili joined a few of his compatriots there, including Mikheil Ashvetia, Giorgi Gakhokidze and Kakhaber Tskhadadze. He made 21 appearances for the club, scoring five goals in Russian Top League. Kobiashvili played in the UEFA Cup as well, scoring a single goal (against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk) in four appearances.
Moving to GermanyEdit
After spending a half season on a loan at SC Freiburg, Kobi signed a deal with the German club in 1998. During his spell with the Breisgau-Brasilianer ("Breisgau Brazilians"), Kobiashvili became one of the key players of Volker Finke's system. He was joined some Georgian players in Germany as well, Alexander Iashvili and Levan Tskitishvili his teammates in Freiburg.
SC Freiburg finished sixth in the 2000–01 Bundesliga season which granted them a qualification for 2001–02 UEFA Cup. This was the second time the club has ever participated in a UEFA tournament. SC Freiburg were eliminated in the third round by the future champions Feyenoord, on a 2–3 aggregate score. Kobiashvili played all six games of the club during the tournament, scoring the only goal against the Rotterdam-based club. Eventually Freiburg got relegated from Bundesliga.
During summer 2003, Kobiashvili's contract with Freiburg expired and he decided to leave the club. He received an offer from the future UEFA Cup winners CSKA Moscow. The coach of the Russian team, Valeri Gazzaev, was interested in signing the Georgian midfielder with whom he worked in Alania five years earlier. However, Kobiashvili decided to stay in Germany and signed a three-year deal with Schalke 04.
Kobiashvili became the starting member of his new club during the first season. Schalke coach Jupp Heynckes used him as a left-back. Upon the arrival of Ralf Rangnick, Kobiashvili was moved back to midfield, becoming one of the key links between Schalke's defence and attack. Two years after joining the Gelsenkirchen-based team, Kobiashvili extended the contract with the club until 2010. Schalke general manager Rudi Assauer declared that Kobiashvili was one of the best signings they had made in the last decade.
One of the best games of Kobiashvili's career came against PSV Eindhoven in 2005–06 UEFA Champions League season where he scored a hat-trick. Two of them were from penalty kicks. After the game he was praised by the manager Ralf Rangnick and teammate Frank Rost, who labeled Kobiashvili as a true professional, who was an example for them. Later this season, Schalke moved to the UEFA Cup, where the team reached semi-finals and lost to the eventual champions FC Sevilla.
During a relegation playoff game against 2. Bundesliga team Fortuna Düsseldorf, Kobiashvili punched referee Wolfgang Stark after the final whistle. Hertha lost the playoff 4–3 on aggregate goals and was relegated from the Bundesliga as a result. Kobiashvili was banned for one year, retroactively beginning 16 May 2012. The German Football Association later reduced Kobiashvili's suspension for seven and a half months, to end 31 December 2012.
In 2011, Kobiashvili became his country's first 100-cap player and received a special award from the UEFA. That game against Greece was the last for Kobiashvili's international career. He is still the most-capped Georgian player. Kobiashvili captained the national team for 16 times and has scored 12 goals during his international career. Two of them were scored in a famous win against Uruguay in 2006. Kobiashvili has also scored the winning goal against Croatia in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier in 2011.
Kobiashvili is married to Tamuna Tsuleiskiri. They have two children: Nikoloz (b. 1999) and Salome (b. 2007).
|Olimpi Rustavi||1993–94||Umaglesi Liga||23||0||0||0||0||0||25||0|
|Dinamo Tbilisi||1995–96||Umaglesi Liga||27||0||0||0||0||0||27||0|
|Alania Vladikavkaz (loan)||1997||Russian Top League||21||5||0||0||1||0||22||5|
|SC Freiburg||1997–98||2. Bundesliga||15||1||0||0||0||0||15||1|
- Scores and results list Georgia's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Kobiashvili goal.
|1||6 June 2001||Népstadion, Budapest||Hungary||1–4||1–4||2002 World Cup qualifier|
|2||27 March 2002||Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi||South Africa||1–0||4–1||Friendly|
|3||29 March 2003||Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi||Republic of Ireland||1–1||1–2||Euro 2004 qualifier|
|4||4 June 2005||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana||Albania||2–3||2–3||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|5||16 August 2006||Svangaskarð, Toftir||Faroe Islands||4–0||6–0||Euro 2008 qualifier|
|6.||15 November 2006||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Uruguay||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|8||11 October 2008||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Cyprus||1–1||1–1||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|9||28 March 2009||Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca||Cyprus||1–2||1–2||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|10||14 October 2009||Vasil Levski National Stadium, Sofia||Bulgaria||2–6||2–6||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|11||3 March 2010||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Estonia||1–0||2–1||Friendly|
|12||26 March 2011||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Croatia||1–0||1–0||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier|
- Umaglesi Liga: 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98
- Georgian Cup: 1994–95, 1995–96, 1996–97
- Georgian Super Cup: 1996, 1997
- "Kobiashvili, Levan". National Football Teams. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Arnhold, Matthias (30 April 2020). "Levan Kobiashvili - Matches and Goals in Bundesliga". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- Mamrud, Roberto (20 December 2019). "Georgia - Record International Players". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- Mamrud, Roberto (30 April 2020). "Levan Kobiashvili - Century of International Appearances". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
- Bzikadze, Vakhtang (5 October 2015). "Kobiashvili takes GFF helm". UEFA.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Levan Kobiashvili". parliament.ge. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- "Dnipro-Alania". UEFA.com. 26 August 1997. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Van Hooijdonk strikes again". UEFA.com. 6 December 2001. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Freiburg - Feyenoord". fussballdaten.de (in German). Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Germany » 2. Bundesliga 2002/2003 » 34. Round". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Kobiashvili on Georgia's mind". UEFA.com. 6 December 2005. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Schalke sign Kobiashvili". UEFA.com. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Kobiashvili commits to Schalke". UEFA.com. 24 August 2005. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Kobiashvili feat delights Schalke". UEFA.com (in German). 24 November 2005. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Puerta sends Sevilla through". UEFA.com. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Hertha move again to sign Kobiashvili". UEFA.com. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Kobiashvili kommt" (in German). herthabsc.de. 20 December 2009. Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
- Quinn, Phillip (30 May 2012). "Levan Kobiashvili Banned For One Year, Four Others Also Banned". sbnation.com. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Kobiashvili ban reduced by tribunal". espnstar.com. 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Football MATCH: 01.09.1996 Norway v Georgia". eu-football.info. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- Bzikadze, Vakhtang (13 October 2011). "Georgia's Kobiashvili enjoys 100-cap honour". UEFA.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Football PLAYER: Levan Kobiashvil". eu-football.info. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Carini: Georgia 2-0 Uruguay". inter.it. 16 November 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- Islamović, Elvir (26 March 2011). "Georgia strike late to see off Croatia". UEFA.com. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Kobiashvili claims Georgian prize". UEFA.com. 17 June 2005. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "ლევან კობიაშვილის გერმანული ცხოვრება". ambebi.ge (in Georgian). 10 February 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "ლევან კობიაშვილის ფონდი დაზარალებულებს 10 000 ლარს გადაურიცხავს". sportall.ge (in Georgian). 16 June 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
- "Levan Kobiashvili". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
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