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Hope for the next Kvaradona



Luka Parkadze in March 2022 in an U17 international match with Georgia against Germany.

In the coming summer, 17-year-old Georgian Luka Parkadze will switch to FC Bayern Munich: He is reminiscent of Napoli shooting star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, is struggling with the aftermath of a corona infection – and the Munich scouts should have noticed in an international match against Germany.

The renowned English newspaper Guardians annually publishes a list of the 60 greatest talents in the world. In the last issue, it was the turn of the 2005 class – and FC Bayern Munich was represented four times with Mathys Tel, Lovro Zvonarek, Paul Wanner and Arijon Ibrahimovic. A fifth talent from this list is moving to Munich next summer: Luka Parkadze from Georgia.

In the noughties, Georgians were still omnipresent in the Bundesliga. With Levan Kobiashvili, Alexander Iashvili, Levan Tskitishvili and Giorgi Kiknadze, SC Freiburg even had four Georgians in the squad at the same time. And also Tobias Willi, but he was actually born in Freiburg.

Since Kobiashvili’s career end at Hertha BSC in 2014, the Bundesliga has been waiting for its next Georgian. Two years ago, FC Bayern allegedly observed Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, then under contract with Russian first division club Rubin Kazan. Ultimately, the Munich decided against a transfer. A mistake, as it turned out: Kvaratskhelia moved to SSC Napoli and transformed into Kvaradona there.

Last August, FC Bayern signed Parkadze, another Georgian: According to the club, the 17-year-old offensive all-rounder signed “a long-term contract” from 2023. “We have known Luka for some time and have had our scouts keep an eye on him he left a brilliant impression in the trial session here at the FC Bayern Campus,” said Campus Manager Jochen Sauer at the time.

Luka Parkadze: His career so far at Dinamo

Like Kvaratskhelia, Parkadze hails from the youth ranks of Dinamo Tbilisi, the small Caucasus country’s most famous club. Dinamo once won the Soviet championship twice and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1981, in independent Georgia Dinamo are unassailable record champions and reigning title holders.

Parkadze made his senior debut last season aged just 17 years, four months and 14 days. This is by no means a record, Dinamo traditionally tests its best talents at an extremely young age. Maybe out of conviction, maybe also from financial constraints: 16 players were even younger than Parkadze when they debuted, Kvaratskhelia for example almost a whole year.

In general, the two are said to have similarities in the game system, both are quick and can be used flexibly on the offensive. Parkadze can “play both as a winger and in the center,” says Luka Lagvilava in an interview SPOX and GOALS. The blogger deals intensively with Georgian football and runs the Twitter account Georgian Footy. According to Lagvilava, Parkadze’s strengths lie in dribbling and passing, but understandably he still has deficits in the physical area.

Corona disease in late summer was also not conducive to his physical constitution. “I was told that after the infection his form and fitness had declined and that he was no longer able to cope with the level of professional training,” explains Lagvilava. “Since then he’s been in recovery mode, so to speak.”

FC Bayern: Parkadze convinced in bankruptcy against Germany

Parkadze was previously part of the professional team several times in a row, but since then it has only been enough for three squad positions and two short appearances. In the fall, he played mainly for the then third-rate reserves, but often only came off the bench. In December, they managed to get promoted to the second division, where Parkadze has only played once since the start of the new season at the end of February.

Parkadze may not have aroused FC Bayern’s interest in the Dinamo jersey, but in the Georgia U17 national team. In a direct duel with Germany almost exactly a year ago, he attracted positive attention despite a 0:3 defeat. “I’m sure he convinced the Bayern scouts in this game,” says Lagvilava.

Incidentally, he met three future colleagues in Paul Wanner, Arijon Ibrahimovic and Tarek Buchmann. According to Lagvilava, the fact that the move to Munich actually took place in Georgia was a “huge news bomb”: “We haven’t had a player who switched straight to such a strong club as FC Bayern.”

In Munich Parkadze is initially planned for the U19 or the reserve.