Giorgi Mamardashvili is currently the Valencia goalkeeper in the best position to play in the final of the Copa del Rey against Real Betis on April 23 at La Cartuja. The 21-year-old Georgian goalkeeper arrived last summer with a subsidiary role and the fourth goalkeeper tag in the squad behind Jasper Cillessen, Jaume Domènech and Cristian Rivero. However, his growth has exceeded all expectations.
‘Mamar’ has taken advantage of his opportunities since preseasonhas earned the trust of José Bordalás and the dressing room with more good performances than bad and is getting bigger in goal as the competition progresses. More and more sober, more confident and, most importantly, more mature under pressure in elite football. His numbers (387 minutes without conceding a goal) back him up.
Also the hobby. SUPER launched a survey among its readers to press the opinion of Valencianism and the result is overwhelming. Would you keep Giorgi in goal for the Cup final? 82% of voters prefer Mamardashvili under sticks in Seville. 12% choose Cillessen, while the remaining 6% stay with Jaume. For the people there is no debate, although the last word is with the coach.
Cillessen, who underwent surgery in February due to a clot formed between the muscles of the right posterior sural region, is in the last stretch of recovery from the injury. He has not played since last January 19 against Sevilla. Since then he has missed eight games in LaLiga and three in the Cup. Since last week he has been training with the group with good feelings and the forecast is that he will be available for the next game on April 3 against Cádiz. That Bordalás forces to make a decision after the break. The coach has two weeks to think about a decision that could be important in terms of the Cup final. There are only four games left before La Cartuja (Cádiz, Rayo, Osasuna and Villarreal) and the logical thing is that the holder of the final decides before of minutes to get to the appointment in Seville.
experience in finals
TO Cillessen’s favor plays his accumulated experience in finals. Jasper is, together with Gonçalo Guedes, the footballer in the squad who has accumulated the most finals in his career. Four in total for none of Giorgi. The Dutchman played with Barcelona in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Cup finals against Valencia (all starting playing 90 minutes) and before that he was a substitute for Vermeer in a Dutch Cup final with Ajax. He knows what it’s like to defend his country in World Cups and European Championships and it’s clear that he’s not going to be intimidated by a stage like La Cartuja.
Giorgi rules in performance
Another thing is sports performance. Mamardashvili is showing that he is ahead of Cillessen this season despite his youth. Georgian improves on Dutch. The numbers prove him right after 14 games for each this season. Giorgi has played almost as many minutes (1,260) as Jasper (1,278). However, the former has only conceded 14 goals (13 in LaLiga and 1 in the Cup), while the latter has received 26 all in LaLiga. The difference is abysmal. ‘Mamar’ also dominates in clean sheets. The Georgian has 7 (six in the League and one in the Cup) in 14 games and has accumulated a total of 387 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal against Mallorca (0-1), Athletic (1-0), Getafe (0-0) and Elche (0-1), which have coincided with the reaction of the team in the classification. Cillessen, on the other hand, has only been able to keep a clean sheet in 3 of his 14 games against Cádiz (0-0), Villarreal (2-0) and Real Sociedad (0-0).
Mamardashvili’s run this March has allowed him to balance his goals-against average for the season. He concedes only 1 per game (14 games, 14 goals), for the almost two (1.85) recorded by the Dutchman (14 entire games, 26 goals). For Bordalás there is no debate. «I have everything very clear. It is a very specific position, but they are working well », he answered when asked about the goal.
The Semifinals Factor
In favor of Mamardashvili he also plays his role in the semifinals of the Cup against Athletic. The Georgian was decisive in the Mestalla with a save at the feet of Iñaki Wiilliams that a few minutes later became Guedes’ great goal that was worth a final. He is in an optimal moment and has had his prize. The proof is the selection of Georgia. Giorgi has once again made the jump from the lower categories to the senior team in his country under the orders of Willy Sagnol ahead of the matches against Bosnia and Albania. His other individual grand prix came on the last day of 2021. Valencia exercised the option to buy Mamardashvili from Dinamo Tbilisi, so the young Georgian international signed until June 2024, with the option of one more year.