A year later, suddenly, Kvaratskhelia he found himself breathing the air of the outskirts of the village. Once upon a time there was the Champions League: it was 7 September 2022 for Napoli-Liverpool, the team’s debut and its cup debut, and Europe and the world opened their eyes wide in the presence of that group and that young lightning bolt with a name whose pronunciation is at least as elusive as him. Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Van Dijk returned home with dizziness and eyes full of Kvara, like all the blue people: the night of the stars, the birth of a phenomenon, the explosion of Spalletti’s Napoli. History. Fairy tale, if you like it better. The curtain, however, fell inexorably at Marassi on Saturday, after a draw with Genoa narrowly caught and replacement now very famous 8 minutes from the end, including injury time, shortly after the 2-2 double comeback: Khvicha for Zerbin. Alessio, unfortunately catapulted indirectly into the cyclone of criticism that overwhelmed Garcia, but with all due respect, the choice of the French coach was extremely complex to read. Untranslatable. Today, however, is already tomorrow: Genoa for them will be a memory, or rather a treasure of experiences to reflect on, and Kvaratskhelia must be regenerated already in Portugal. A year later, another cup debut in Braga, another life: Rudi has his undeniable responsibilities in managing a poker of matches and two substitutions (even with Lazio at 1-2, yes), but the team will have to find themselves in the name of the future. Starting from Kvara: he hasn’t scored for exactly 6 months and even in Genoa he struggled to act in the general tactical confusion, but Garcia must recall him from the outskirts and put him back in the center of the village like a statue. As a candidate for the Ballon d’Or and The Best Fifa, as one of the most lethal wingers around, as the talent that made people fall in love and opponents go crazy: a year ago, in these times, it was Kvaradona and Kvaravaggio. He flew, he decided, he entertained. And he smiled.
Kvaratskhelia, Napoli’s heritage
And then, the heritage. Kvaratskhelia is a Napoli heritage That Rudy needs to valorise as soon as possible regardless of the missed goal on March 19th in Turin against Toro: it is undeniable that something hasn’t gone right so far. Blatant. A season ago, with the same number of games, he had already scored 3 goals, he was preparing to score the fourth with Lazio and take down Liverpool, but regardless of the numbers there is another aspect that leaves us thinking: Kvara played in a system that seemed perfect for him (and for others) and was traveling at a dizzying pace. It made a difference that today, however, is not perceived: he may be subdued and less brilliant, for goodness sake, but he is probably suffering more than the others from the new tactical instructions. He is less on the wing, more inside the field; with the risk of wandering in the void and aimlessly as with Lazio and Genoa.
From Zerbin to Zerbin: the precedent with Liverpool
Tactical discomfort and unsuspected reactions: against Liverpool, a September ago, Spalletti replaced him in the 12th minute of the second half – you guessed it – with Zerbin. Alessio himself: Napoli won 3-0, the world was in color and Kvara didn’t say a word. He never said it until the Zerbin-2 in Genoa, yet he has chewed up plenty of substitutions and received lectures, even public ones. Impenetrable for a year. But today, we were saying, is already tomorrow: Braga, another Champions League and Bologna on Sunday. And the goal to be found together with the victory. And with a smile.