Fabio Cannavaro revealed he was asked by Udinese about Kim Min-Jae, shortly before he joined Napoli while Kvaratskhelia is a ‘phenomenon’. The Serie A legend and World Cup winner was speaking with Il Mattino (as quoted by La Gazzetta) about the incredible season that the Partenopei are having, and singled out coach Luciano Spalletti for praise, emphasising the coaches training methods and ability to have players working in multiple roles.
“Kim? He’s really improving in an impressive way. A few years ago Andrea Carnevale wanted to bring him to Udinese, he called me and asked me about him. I told him he was strong, he played in the Chinese league where I used to coach but he lacked confidence. With Luciano Spalletti he learnt to be focused: he never has distractions, he never loses his head, he’s always there and always knows what the right thing to do is.
“Kvaratskhelia? He’s a phenomenon, if you let him get the ball he’ll break through defences. He has the awareness of being strong, you can tell by the way he moves: he plays on his own for a long time, then he gets the ball in front of him and runs at you. And how do you stop him? In today’s football he has an advantage because the defenders can’t do much: you can’t grab his shorts, you can’t touch him, if you touch his shirt you’re cautioned, if you give him a kick you’re kicked out.
“You see how they treated Maradona: he was prodigious because he scored goals by jumping over those who made murderous tackles against him, knowing that they would get away with it.
“I can see the importance of Osimhen, Kvara and Lobotka, but for me the best of them all, the irreplaceable, is Di Lorenzo. I was with Spalletti after the match against Atalanta and I told him: ‘he’s someone who plays at least 6.5 every game’. Always. A guarantee. For me he’s like Zanetti, he’s at his level. He has a frightening continuity, he knows how to play with the ball at his feet, in the one-on-one’s he is very strong and then he is available and humble with his team-mates: if he sees anyone in trouble, he is there to come to his rescue. Always doing the best thing.
“Spalletti? It’s not a question of age, but of desire and DNA. He’s been innovative for years, each of his teams has a precise brand. You see it in the way they play and you say: ‘that’s Spalletti’s team.’ He has a positive team concept, he studies, he updates. He realises that he doesn’t just have Lobotka as a regista, sometimes the regista are the two centre-backs, then other times the full-backs are. He teaches the team how to play short, other times long. There’s few doubts: now he’s the best in Italy.
“Is it the merits of Napoli or demerits of the other teams? Yes, it’s a disaster in the chasing pack. 18 points away is an incredible embarrassment for the pursuers. But that doesn’t take anything away from the power of the Azzurri.”