Rangers’ Champions League opponents Napoli sit top of Serie A on goal difference with summer signing and the “Georgian Lionel Messi” Khvicha Kvaratskhelia already taking Italy by storm.
The winger, 21, signed on at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium this summer in an £8.4m deal from Rubin Kazan [the Athletic].
Initially tasked with replacing Italian maverick Lorenzo Insigne, the diminutive winger joining MLS side Toronto FC this summer, there has been big pressure on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to deliver in the early part of his Napoli career.
Especially when you consider the Italian giants have also lost Belgian international forward Dries Mertens, who joined Galatasaray upon the expiration of his contract.
But it’s been a pressure that Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is relishing as he enjoys an explosive start to life with Luciano Spalletti’s team.
Rangers to welcome Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to Ibrox
The Georgian winger has three goals and an assist in his first three Serie A games, although he couldn’t find a way through Fiorentina this weekend following a 0-0 draw.
But this has bucked the trend of Napoli’s start in Italy with the Serie A side top of the division after three games on goal difference, with six sides all on seven points.
Napoli blitzed Verona 5-2 on opening day, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia one of five scorers as the Partenopei kickstarted something of a new era with a message to the rest of the division.
They then followed this up with a 4-0 romp at home to Monza, where Kvaratskhelia netted twice to show Napoli fans that he was up for the task of replacing the firepower they’ve just lost.
A direct, left-side attacker who was once dubbed the Georgian Lionel Messi, Rangers will be well aware of the threat posed by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia heading into their clash with Napoli.
But something tells us by the time the two legs are done, the Ibrox club’s fans will be well aquatinted the with talented young attacker too.
Meanwhile, the Rangers debate surrounding one international footballer has been settled as he officially moves elsewhere.