Khvicha Kvaratskhelia comments on Rangers and Ibrox were 'invented' - Napoli
Napoli has insisted that comments attributed to their star man Khvicha Kvaratskhelia ahead of the meeting with Rangers this week were “invented”, Calcio Napoli 24 reports.
The same outlet, among others, had carried a purported interview with the Georgian star from the Daily Record following the Serie A side’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool last week 7 September.
But they now report that following direct contact the Italian club have accused the Scottish paper of making the interview up.
The 21-year-old was supposed to have said, via Calcio Napoli 24: “We have to think about the Glasgow match. It will not be an easy match because they will play in front of their audience, we know the electric atmosphere that reigns on that field. They will push hard to bring home a good result but we trust in ourselves and in the [ability] to get good results there too.”
But Napoli have now reportedly said the player never made those comments at all, and there is currently no evidence of them online from the Daily Record, just as Calcio Napoli 24’s own story on it which the new report links to also appears to have been deleted.
Amid postponements following the death of the Queen the game has been moved 24 hours back to Wednesday 14 September and will see no away fans permitted, with the same situation being enforced for the return tie in Naples.
It seems a major risk to take for some comments relevant to Rangers that appear so innocuous to just make them up, but that is the accusation.
Whether the fact that the original source is no longer obviously available means that there was a misunderstanding somewhere and the words from the young star were attributed incorrectly by another outlet and then repeatedly picked up, or that the false interview was caught and deleted, is hard to say.
But it adds another layer of absurdity and controversy to a game that already has plenty in light of the rearrangement and the fan rules.
Kvaratskhelia played a starring role in his side’s dismantling of last season’s finalists Liverpool, and with Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen set to miss out the young winger is sure to be key at Ibrox.
The words attributed to him are certainly believable, because most of Europe will have been made well aware of the Ibrox atmosphere during the Europa League campaign last year.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst is going to need it to boost his players more than ever as they have lost back-to-back games 4-0 to Celtic and Ajax, and after the postponement of their match with Aberdeen at the weekend it is another daunting task for the next action they face.