Georgi Kinkladze (born 6 July 1973), also known as Georgiou, Giorgi, Gio or Kinky, is a retired Georgian footballer who played as a midfielder. A playmaker, he first came to prominence with his performances for Georgia against Wales in 1994 and 1995. He transferred from his hometown team Dinamo Tbilisi to English Premier League club Manchester City in 1995, where his dribbling ability and spectacular goals made him a cult hero, winning the club's Player of the Year award in two consecutive seasons.
Kinkladze made his Saarbrucken debut in a 2. Fussball-Bundesliga match against Tennis Borussia Berlin on 4 March 1994. However, he was unable to settle into the side at Saarbrucken, rarely playing a full 90 minutes, and was sent off in a defeat to Hertha BSC Berlin. At the end of the season he returned to Tbilisi to resume his career in Georgia, where in 1993 he was the national Player of the Year. Dinamo president Merad Jordania was still uncomfortable with Kinkladze playing in Georgia amid political instability, and offered the player to Atletico Madrid for approximately 200,000; they gave him a trial but no contract. He then trained with Real Madrid's reserves, where he caught the eye of Boca Juniors scouts, who took him to Argentina for a month's loan. Kinkladze met his childhood hero Diego Maradona, but did not gain a permanent contract, as coach Silvio Marzolini regarded him as too similar to Boca's Argentine international playmaker Alberto Marcico.
Without a club during pre-season, Kinkladze trained with Portsmouth, where his former manager Jim Smith was on the coaching staff. He played for Portsmouth in one pre-season friendly, but Portsmouth decided to sign another former Manchester City playmaker, Eyal Berkovic, instead. Over the next few months he was linked with moves to Scottish clubs Dundee and Celtic, and later Leeds United, but none resulted in the a contract offer. As a consequence, he had to train individually and lost his place in the national team again, this time before the return match against Russia. In December 2003, Kinkladze went for a one-week trial at Panathinaikos following an invitation from Giannis Vardinogiannis, the owner of the Greek club. However, at the end of the trial the club decided not to sign him. Six months later he was linked with a move to Russian club Shinnik Yaroslavl, but again he was not offered a contract.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Georgi Kinkladze