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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 throughout a campaign in which Napoli appear destined to end their 33-year wait to win the Scudetto.
The Georgian netted his 11th league goal of the season as Napoli overcame Atalanta 2-0 on Saturday, leaving defenders in his wake before firing home as Spalletti’s men moved 18 points clear at the Serie A summit.
With Napoli’s first title win since the Maradona era drawing closer, Spalletti believes comparisons between Kvaratskhelia and the inspirational Argentine are not without merit.
“This victory was the best. Turning 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 with quality, in order to be able to hurt them with pace and speed.
“Then there was that stuff that Kvaratskhelia showed us… This time we can say it was a goal like those of Maradona.
We have a dream…
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) March 11, 2023
“The god of football was the god of football, but Kvara is on the right path. He has a speed of touch, you never know where he can go.”
Kvaratskhelia’s tally of 20 goal contributions (11 goals, nine assists) is only bettered by team-mate Victor Osimhen (19 goals, four assists) in Serie A this season, while he has also created 17 chances following carries and completed 41 dribbles, with the latter total only bettered by Rafael Leao’s 44.
Napoli host Eintracht Frankfurt in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, defending a 2-0 advantage in their bid to reach the last eight for the first time.