Spalletti: Maradona ‘the god of football’ but Khvicha Kvaratskhelia ‘on the right path’


Khvicha Kvaratskhelia helped Napoli to a crucial win over Atalanta last time out as the Serie A leaders bounced back from a loss to Lazio.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is “on the right path” towards earning similar hero status at Napoli to that enjoyed by the “god of football” Diego Maradona, according to his coach Luciano Spalletti.

Kvaratskhelia has shone during a campaign in which Napoli look destined to end their 33-year wait for a Scudetto win.

The Georgian scored his 11th league goal of the season as Napoli beat Atalanta 2-0 on Saturday, leaving behind a defender before firing home as Spalletti’s men moved 18 points clear at the summit of Serie A.

With Napoli’s first win since the Maradona era looming, Spalletti believes the comparisons between Kvaratskhelia and the inspirational Argentine are not unwarranted.

“This win was the best. To turn the tables in terms of our results with this quality of play was the best,” Spalletti told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli on Monday.

“The team played a great game against a very tough opponent like Atalanta. Physically they are the strongest team of all in Serie A, but also in terms of running in open spaces.”

“We moved the ball faster, with a few less touches, but quality, so we could hurt them with pace and speed.

“Then there were the things that Kvaratskhelia showed us… This time we can say it was a Maradona-like goal.

“The god of football was the god of football, but Kvara is on the right track. He has the speed of touch, you never know where he can go.”

Kvaratskhelia’s tally of 20 goal contributions (11 goals, nine assists) is bettered only by teammate Victor Osimhen (19 goals, four assists) in Serie A this season, while he also created 17 chances from set-pieces and completed 41 dribbles. the latter total surpassed only by Rafael Lea’s 44.

Napoli host Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, defending a 2-0 lead in their bid to reach the last 16 for the first time.

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