Kaladze at the Russian Railways Cup in 2007
|Full name||Kakhaber Kaladze|
|Date of birth||27 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Samtredia, Georgia|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Centre Back, Left Back|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Kakhaber "Kakha" Kaladze (Georgian: კახაბერ (კახა) კალაძე [kʼaxabɛr kʼalad͡zɛ]; born 27 February 1978) is a Georgian politician and retired footballer. He played for the Georgia national team from 1996 to 2011. He was voted Georgian Footballer of the Year in 2001–2003, and 2006 and is considered as one of Georgia's most important players.
Kaladze started his football career in 1993 at Umaglesi Liga club Dinamo Tbilisi and made 82 appearances in a five-year spell. In 1998, he moved to the Ukrainian club Dynamo Kyiv and made 71 appearances until 2001, when he was signed by the Italian Serie A club Milan. To the date he has won one Serie A, three Ukrainian Premier League and five Umaglesi Liga titles. With Milan he won the Champions League on two occasions, the UEFA Super Cup once and the FIFA Club World Cup once. After captaining his country 50 times in 84 appearances, Kaladze announced his retirement from the Georgian national team on 11 December 2011.
Born in Samtredia, a town in Imereti Province, Kaladze comes from a footballing family as his father played for Lokomotiv Samtredia and was also president of the team for some time. His brother was kidnapped in a high-profile case in 2001 and officially declared dead in 2006, resulting in two men being sentenced to prison for a combined total of 30 years. Outside of football he owns a company called Kala Capital and an organisation called Kala Foundation as well as being an ambassador for SOS Children's Villages. He is married and has one child.
Kaladze became involved in the politics of Georgia as a member of the opposition Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia party founded by Bidzina Ivanishvili in February 2012. He was elected to the Parliament of Georgia on October 1, 2012, and approved as Minister of Energy in the cabinet of Bidzina Ivanishvili on October 25, 2012.
Club career 
Early career 
Kaladze started his career playing as a striker for his local club Lokomotiv Samtredia, where his father was president, until former Georgia international footballer David Kipiani requested Kakha to join Dinamo Tbilisi. At Dinamo Tbilisi, he played in 82 domestic league games and scored one goal. He made his top-flight debut as a 16-year-old with Dinamo Tbilisi during the 1993–94 campaign. Kaladze claims that a good performance against Italy while playing for Georgia in a match that ended 0–0 brought him to the attention of Dynamo Kyiv, "In that game I was up against Christian Vieri and I marked him well."
A fee equivalent to €280,000 was enough to take him to the Ukrainian Premier League and Dynamo Kyiv in January 1998, where he signed a four-year deal. Here he scored six goals in 71 league games over the two and a half seasons he spent there. The Ukrainian club had been under the ownership of Hryhoriy Surkis and the late Valeriy Lobanovskyi had just been installed as manager, they would go on to win eight consecutive league titles. Kaladze also appeared in both legs of the semi-final of the 1998–99 Champions League against Bayern Munich, which Dynamo Kyiv lost 4–3 on aggregate. On the way to the semi-finals, they beat teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Arsenal. He won eight league titles in a row during his time at Dinamo Tbilisi and Dynamo Kyiv.
In 2001, Kaladze became the most expensive Georgian footballer in history when Milan paid €16m to bring him to Italy from Ukrainian side Dynamo Kyiv. He cited an injury to Aleksei Gerasimenko as his reason for leaving. At first, Kaladze was tried in different positions and faced competition for places in defence from players such as Jaap Stam and Cafu. In the 2002–03 season, however, he made 46 appearances in all competitions including 27 league appearances. That year Milan won the Champions League, where they beat Juventus on penalties in the final (despite Kaladze missing his penalty) and the Coppa Italia where they beat Roma 6–3 on aggregate in the final. After Kaladze's double success, the Georgian postal service issued a special stamp bearing the player's image. He is the first Georgian player to win a Champions League title.
Kaladze was limited to just six league appearances and 11 total appearances in the 2003–04 campaign. In the next season, Kaladze played just 19 Serie A matches and five in the Champions League as Milan finished as runners-up in both competitions. He was an unused substitute in that season's Champions League final where Milan lost on penalties to Liverpool after a 3–3 draw. He was said to be frustrated with his lack of first team options and a move to Chelsea, in exchange for Hernán Crespo or for £4m, was widely reported. Kaladze himself said, "I have agreed everything with the Chelsea management. Now it is necessary to wait for them to reach an agreement with Milan and I think I could become a Chelsea player next week." Chelsea opted to sign Asier del Horno instead and Kaladze later declared himself "glad" that the deal fell through. On 30 June 2005, he extended his contract with Milan until 2010 and again on 4 September 2006, this time until 2011. In 2005–06, the injury of Paolo Maldini meant that Kaladze was moved back into the centre of defence, his favoured position. Milan finished third that season although they would have finished second if there were no 2006 Italian football scandal which resulted in a 30-point deduction.
In the 2006–07 Serie A campaign, Kaladze scored a goal against Sampdoria which turned out to be his only goal of the season. Milan finished in fourth place with an eight-point deduction relating to the previous season's scandal. Kaladze won his second Champions League title on 23 May 2007 after Milan beat Liverpool 2–1 in the final; he came on as a 79th minute substitute in that match. He later picked up the FIFA Club World Cup in December that year where Milan beat Boca Juniors 4–2 in the final, however Kaladze was one of two players to be sent off in that match. He had established himself as a first team regular in the 2007–08 season, making 32 appearances, but had only featured sparingly in the 2008–09 season due to a knee ligament injury sustained in a UEFA Cup match against Zürich. Kaladze's performance in the 15 February 2009 Milan derby was described as a "horror show" on the Channel 4 website which started a dispute over an alleged smear campaign between Kaladze and the Georgian newspaper Lelo, who used the quote, "Milan really does need a new centre-back after Kakha Kaladze’s horror show in the derby". Milan finished third in the league that season, 10 points behind the leader Internazionale and Kaladze believed this was caused by the many injuries in the squad.
On 31 August 2010, Kaladze signed with Genoa. Milan later revealed that it was a free transfer. In the 2010–11 Serie A, he played 26 matches scored one goal which was against Parma on 30 January 2011. He was named as second-best defender of the season 2010–11 Serie A by La Gazzetta dello Sport, being surpassed only by his former teammate Thiago Silva of Milan. On 12 May 2012, Kaladze announced his retirement from football.
International career 
Kaladze won his first cap against Cyprus in a friendly match on 27 March 1996, coming on as a 72nd minute substitute for Mikhail Kavelashvili. Later that year, he was sent off for the first time in his international career against Lebanon in a friendly match. He subsequently featured in his country's qualifying campaigns for the 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, and the 2000, 2004 and 2008 UEFA European Championships. Georgia, however, have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship since they split from the Soviet Union. His competitive debut was against Poland on 14 June 1997 in a 1998 World Cup qualifier, Georgia lost the match 4–1. Kaladze was sent off again, along with Georgi Kinkladze, just two matches later against Moldova in another 1998 World Cup qualifier. Georgia finished in fourth place in the group and failed to qualify. In qualifying for Euro 2000, Georgia finished at the bottom of the group (Group 2), in sixth place, with just one win. Kaladze occasionally captained the side during these qualifiers in the absence of Georgi Nemsadze.
The qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup ended with Georgia finishing in third place, ahead of Hungary and Lithuania. Kaladze played in all of the matches and often missed the friendlies in between. Kaladze only played in three matches during the Euro 2004 qualifiers, where Georgia finished in last place in the group. He did, however, feature in a 1–0 victory over neighbouring Russia which is considered to be one of Georgia's greatest successes. Kaladze played in all bar one of the 2006 World Cup qualifying matches, where Georgia finished sixth in the group, with Kazakhstan being the only team to finish below them. He played fewer matches during the qualification for Euro 2008 and once again Georgia failed to qualify as they finished in sixth place despite starting their campaign with a 6–0 win over the Faroe Islands.
He scored his first ever international goal against Latvia on 6 February 2008 in a friendly which Georgia lost 3–1. On 5 September 2009, Kaladze scored two own goals in a 2010 World Cup qualifying match against Italy within the space of 11 minutes. The match ended 2–0 to Italy. Kaladze was the captain of the national team, until 11 December 2011, when he announced his retirement.
|1||6 February 2008||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Latvia||1 – 3||Lost||Friendly|
Business and personal life 
Kaladze was born in Samtredia, a Georgian town near the Black Sea. His father, Karlo, was a footballer for Lokomotiv Samtredia and was also president of the team at some point. At the age of 11, he played for his town's junior team. Kaladze is the owner of a restaurant called Giannino, founded in 1899 by Giannino Bindi, which is based in Milan. The restaurant has had a Michelin star under Davide Oldani.
In 2001, Kaladze's brother Levan, a medical student, was kidnapped in Georgia, with a ransom of $600,000 demanded. Georgia's president at the time, Eduard Shevardnadze promised "everything is being done to locate him", despite this the only time that Levan was ever seen was in a video where he was shown blindfolded and begging for help. Following the kidnapping, Kaladze threatened to take up Ukrainian citizenship, but reverted his decision stating, "There was a time when I thought about quitting the national side completely, but I couldn’t do it out of respect for the Georgian people and the fans who come and give us such support." Roughly four years later, on 6 May 2005, Georgian police officers found eight dead bodies in the Svaneti region and it was speculated that Levan was among the dead. 21 February 2006 was the date when Levan was officially identified among the deceased, after tests from FBI experts. The local media claimed that the ransom was paid by Kaladze's family although another source says that Kaladze's father attempted to meet the kidnappers, who fled as they believed he was followed by the police. Two men were sentenced to prison for the murder; David Asatiani for 25 years and Merab Amisulashvili for five years. On 14 July 2009, Kaladze's wife Anouki gave birth to their first born son in Milan. The couple named their son Levan, in memory of Kaladze's brother.
Along with his football career, Kaladze is also a successful businessman with investments in Georgia, Italy, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Another investment was the establishment of Kala Capital—a holding company which plans to target banking, real estate and energy sectors of the Georgian economy. Kaladze has also been active in charitable causes and is a FIFA ambassador for the SOS Children's Villages. In 2008, Kaladze founded the Kala Foundation, an organisation that focuses on the "ethical purpose of dedicating all efforts particularly in helping and sustaining people in need". Through the Kala Foundation, he raised €50,000 to benefit South Ossetian refugees during the conflict with Russia in 2008. Kaladze also plans to release an autobiography with the proceeds going to the Kala Foundation.
Political career 
Kaladze ran successfully for parliament during the October 2012 parliamentary election with the party Georgian Dream–Democratic Georgia led by Bidzina Ivanishvili. On 25 October, he was appointed as Minister of Energy and Natural Resources in the new cabinet of Ivanishvili.
Football career statistics 
|Georgia national team|
Dinamo Tbilisi 
- Georgian Cup: 4
- 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
Dynamo Kyiv 
- 1998, 1999, 2000
- Serie A: 1
- Coppa Italia: 1
- 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011.
- Source: Eurosport at Yahoo
International goal 
|1.||6 February 2008||Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi||Latvia||1–3||1–3||Friendly|
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