AC Milan defeated Kakha Kaladze’s team of friends 3-1 in Tbilisi on May 31. However, it was not a usual match, as Kaladze’s friends came from all over the world to make his farewell an unforgettable event at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena. Fabio Canavaro, Luca Toni, Paolo Maldini, Gianluca Zambrotta, Rui Costa, Andriy Shevchenko, Filipo Inzagi, Cristian Vieri, together with their Georgian colleagues Shota and Achi Arveladze, Levan Kobiashvili,Giorgi Demetradze, Davit Mujiri, George Kinkladze, Murtaz Shelia and others made the event special.
Kaladze’s farewell match a success
By Salome Modebadze
Monday, June 3
At the farewell match dedicated to the end of his football career, the former captain of the Georgian National football team, and a member of Dinamo Tbilisi, Dinamo Kyiv, AC Milan and Genoa, Kakha Kaladze, said that without his fans he would have hardly achieved success in his football career.
“When I was playing with the T-shirt of Milan or any other team, I always knew that I had Georgia behind me and I maximally tried to promote it abroad and make everyone understand what country I was from,” Kaladze said after the match.
A 10-minute documentary film showed the path Kaladze took over several decades spent playing the sport. At the end of the film, Kakha’s friends thanked him for his merit in developing football both in Georgia and Italy. Three-time participant in the finals of the Champions’ League and a two-time winner of the Champions' Cup, Kaladze was greeted with great applause at Dinamo Arena.
The match started at around 9 pm. Singer Bera opened the event with a specially staged musical show and performed several well-known songs, one even with an American rapper who arrived in Georgia especially for this date. Stressing it was a great pleasure to be opening the farewell match of his friend “Kala”, Bera promised to make the evening “most emotional and unforgettable.”
Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili together with AC Milan Vice-President,
Adriano Galliani, went down on the field at the end of the friendly match. Calling Kaladze “a legendry football player”, Ivanishvili recollected his first meeting with Kaladze before the latter would join the Georgian political circle. Talking of Kaladze as a loyal man, who loves his country, the Prime Minister said after overcoming the election period and the Georgian Dream coalition’s victory, Kaladze has proved his professionalism and skill, and has now become “an exemplary minister” in a short period of time.
Ivanishvili thanked Kaladze for the respect he has brought to his homeland with his achievements in sport, as well as his activities before the October 1 Parliamentary Elections that helped to bring victory to the Georgian Dream. “I wish Georgian society would see Kaladze off at the end of his political career with such love as well,” Ivanishvili stated.
Galliani said it is always a sentimental moment when a football player leaves his sports career, but Kala is a person who has created an epic in football both in Georgia and Italy.
Kala felt very emotional at his farewell. Expressing his gratitude to his fans, trainers and his family, Kasladze said it was the first time his mother attended his football match during his career. “Mother, thank you for everything you have done for me! I doubt I can ever pay you back, but remember that I love you very much!” Kaladze addressed his mother from the football arena.
The Erisioni Song and Dance Company performed a couple of national dances, while a creative flash mob amused the audience. People were amazed with the colorful fireworks at the end of the farewell.
Shota Arveladze said despite the hard times Kala has dealt with during his life and career, he still managed to show the future generations’ how talent is being praised in Georgia.
His Italian friends were also proud in sharing great victories with Kala and wished his successful path in his new position as the Minister of Energy.
Dinamo Arena was overcrowded. However, those who did not have the opportunity to attend the farewell match could watch it live on TV.