Georgian football phenom’s family ‘threatened’ as he plays in Russia – media
The family of Georgian international winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia have reportedly been the target of threats due to the 21-year-old star continuing to represent Rubin Kazan in the Russian Premier League amid the ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
The exact nature of the alleged threats has not been revealed.
Kvaratskhelia, 21, has emerged as one of Georgian football's brightest young talents after spending the last four seasons in the Russian top flight, first with Lokomotiv Moscow and for the past three seasons with Rubin Kazan.
But the young phenom's time in Russian football career could reportedly come to a premature conclusion amid claims that he has decided not to return to Rubin Kazan after his family received threats, according to Match TV.
Kvaratskhelia is currently on international duty ahead of upcoming friendly matches with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, but questions remain as to whether he will report back for club duty after the Albania match, which is scheduled for March 29.
His current contract runs until 2024 but the youngster has reportedly been the subject of interest from English Premier League sides West Ham and Leeds United, among others, with both clubs understood to have considered making bids in the region of £18 million ($23.6 million) for him during the January transfer window.
Current FIFA rules allow players in the Russian Premier League to suspend their contracts with their clubs until the summer of 2022, in light of the situation with Ukraine.
Kvaratskhelia has made 22 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring two goals and contributing five assists. He has been capped 12 times by Georgia, scoring an impressive five goals along the way.
Russian football has seen an exodus of foreign players since military action was launched in Ukraine in late February.
German manager Daniel Farke stepped down as boss of Krasnodar without taking charge of a single game, while Ukrainian defender Yaroslav Rakitskyi terminated his contract with Zenit St. Petersburg by mutual consent.
Andriy Voronin also left his position as Dynamo Moscow assistant coach, while another German coach, Markus Gisdol, abandoned his job at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Rubin Kazan did not comment to Match YV when asked about the claims that Kvaratskhelia could leave.