Hero in Georgia's win over Portugal elated after getting Ronaldo's jersey

By Hong Duy   June 27, 2024 | 12:38 am PT
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of Georgia showed off the jersey he got from his idol Cristiano Ronaldo after Georgia's 2-0 victory over Portugal to secure their place in the Round of 16 at the Euro 2024.

Kvaratskhelia posted a photo of Ronaldo's jersey on his Instagram Story with the caption "Dreams" and a heart emoji after the match on Wednesday night (early Thursday morning Hanoi time).

Kvaratskhelia khoe chiếc áo đấu của Ronaldo và phần thưởng Cầu thủ hay nhất trận trên Instagram Story ngay sau trận Gruzia thắng Bồ Đào Nha 2-0 ở lượt cuối bảng F Euro 2024 ngày 26/6. Ảnh chụp màn hình

A screenshot of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's Instagram Story post of Cristiano Ronaldo's jersey and his "Player of the match" award from Georgia's 2-0 win over Portugal at Euro 2024 on June 26, 2024.

"I have a jersey of Ronaldo," said the 23-year-old forward in the media interview after the game at the Schalke Stadium. "And we also made it through the next round. This is the best day in the lives of Georgians."

"Everyone is very happy, we just made history. No one could believe we could defeat Portugal, but we just proved we are a strong team."

Georgia had only one point after the first two matches and had to beat Portugal, who had already advanced as Group F leaders, to earn a place in the Round of 16.

It was Kvaratskhelia who scored with a cross-shot to give Georgia the lead in the 2nd minute, following a mistake by center-back Antonio Silva. In the second half, Georges Mikautadze converted a penalty to secure the 2-0 victory and send Georgia to the Round of 16 in their maiden Euro appearance.

After the final whistle, Kvaratskhelia, who was named "Player of the match," shook hands with his idol Ronaldo before running onto the pitch to celebrate with his teammates.

The duo has a nice history. 11 years ago, Ronaldo attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the Dinamo Tbilisi football academy and took photos with young players, including Kvaratskhelia and many of his other current Georgian teammates.

Kvaratskhelia revealed he also received some pre-match pep talk from Ronaldo. "When he comes to you before the match and when he says that I wish you success, that is amazing," said the Napoli star. "I realised that actually I could do and we could do so many things today because it gave us so much incentive."

Kvaratskhelia, dubbed "Kvaradona" by fans after the legend Maradona, said that making it past the Euro 2024 group stages with Georgia was more challenging than winning the Serie A with Napoli in the 2022-2023 season. "This is the best day in my life because it was more difficult to do it with the Georgian team than with the Napoli team," he said.

He emphasized that collective effort was the key to Georgia's group stage success and looked forward to pulling off another upset against Spain in the Round of 16. "There was no individual best player," he said. "It was teamwork and we proved to anyone that we could really play."

Kvaratskhelia's performance in Georgia's 2-0 victory over Portugal at Euro 2024 on June 26, 2024.

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