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Georgi Kinkladze
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Premier League Cult Icons: Georgi Kinkladze

The streets will never forget Georgi Kinkladze.

Seducing his audience with his fancy flicks and a mesmerising ability to beat defenders, Kinkladze was a special talent who could change matches with a moment of individual brilliance.

He would only spend one season in the Premier League with Manchester City but it didn't take him long to win the hearts of the Maine Road faithful. That he remained with the club following their relegation from the top flight only heightened their adulation for the Georgian wizard.

After departing Man City in 1998, he would endure a futile spell with Ajax before returning to the Premier League as a Derby County player.

They too savoured Kinkladze's dazzling skill and while inconsistency may have plagued his output, it could not detract from his natural ability to dance his way through defences.

A case of unfulfilled genius, Kinkladze entertained. He was a fascinating watch no matter your club allegiance.

Georgi Kinkladze In Profile

Place of BirthTbilisi, Georgia
Premier League club(s)Manchester City, Derby County
Premier League appearances102
Premier League goals7
Premier League assists13
International caps55
Other notable clubsAjax

Journey into football

Born in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Kinkladze was on the books at Dinamo Tbilisi from the age of six.

For those intrigued as to how Kinkladze developed his balletic footwork, his mother ensured football was not the only sport he participated in as a child by taking him to lessons in mtiuluri - a traditional Georgian dance.

Kinkladze's heart lay with football and he progressed through the ranks at Dinamo before featuring in the reserve team alongside former Rangers forward Shota Arveladze.

At the age of 16, he moved to Meret Tbilisi - the first professional club from Georgia under the Soviet Union - where he won the Pirvela Liga (Georgia's second division). He spent a year in the top flight with Meret before a return to Dinamo beckoned and in his first season, they secured a league and cup double.

In the midst of the Georgian civil war, Kinkladze had a loan spell with 1.FC Saarbrücken and was tracked by other clubs, having unsuccessful trials at Real and Atlético Madrid – and, intriguingly, a month-long loan at Boca Juniors, where Kinkladze met his idol Diego Maradona.

No permanent move arose, however, and Kinkladze's next destination was the Premier League.

Style of play

An absurdly talented No.10 with poise and flair in abundance, Kinkladze spoilt spectators with his mesmerising trickery.

His divine individual goal against Southampton encapsulated his majestic skill; meandering through defences, gliding beyond challenges with incredible ease before finishing with aplomb. Though he was far from prolific, his time in England was best remembered for a series of magnificent goals.

His work ethic received heavy criticism but Kinkladze could atone with a snippet of excellence; on his day, he was simply unplayable.

Manchester City legacy

Manchester City supporters worshipped Kinkladze and the feeling was reciprocated. His evasive dribbling and impressive vision was unlike anything they had witnessed before.

The Georgian offered hope during a tumultuous period, and yet despite the splendid artistry and array of spectacular goals, Kinkladze arguably caused more damage than good.

Unsuited to the traditional English 4-4-2, managers would trial a variety of tactics and formations in order to incorporate him in his favoured position; ultimately he was a luxury that the club couldn't afford as they suffered two relegations in three seasons.

Despite a sour conclusion to his City career and the unprecedented success that has followed, Kinkladze is still revered by supporters to this day.

Biggest career achievement

It speaks volumes of Kinkladze's popularity that he was named Player of the Season twice for Manchester City and once for Derby County.

Kinkladze's spell with Dinamo Tbilisi was his most decorated; he won three Umaglesi Liga titles and the Georgian Cup twice across a four-year spell.

He was also named Georgian Footballer of the Year in 1993 and 1996.

Did you know?

The 90s for Manchester City supporters was defined by Oasis and Kinkladze; he was their Rock 'N' Roll star, after all.

Kinkladze acquainted himself with the rock band at a gig in Manchester and even went to watch Oasis perform in Moscow. Little did he know that he'd be the reason their set was delayed for two hours.

Noel Gallagher made the prediction that Kinkladze would either lead Man City to the European Cup, or take them down to the fourth tier; when the Georgian departed in 1998, the Citizens were lingering in the third tier.

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