Giorgi Mamardashvili a star on the rise after winning Valencia goalkeeping job

Written by Alejandro Fernandez.


When Valencia acquired Giorgi Mamardashvili from Dinamo Tbilisi in the 2021 summer transfer window, the club directors thought they were signing a goalkeeper for their B team, Valencia Mestalla, which plays in the Tercera División RFEF. It turned out, however, that they’d brought in the player who’d become the number one option for the first team.

There was some good fortune involved in Mamardashvili’s meteoric rise, as Valencia’s two first-team goalkeepers Jasper Cillessen and Jaume Doménech were both injured for the opening weekend of the 2021/22 La Liga season. But, as the saying goes, you make your own luck and Mamardashvili had impressed coach José Bordalás during pre-season, so he had no doubts about starting the young Georgian against Getafe in the first game of the season.

The debutant was excellent, making four saves in total, stopping shots from Damián Suárez, Hugo Duro, Nemanja Maksimović and Mauro Arambarri, as well as making an incredible intervention to deny José Macías a chance. Those heroics saw Mamardashvili named as the best goalkeeper of the opening matchday of the season.

So, even when the previous starting goalkeeper Cillessen recovered from his injury, Mamardashvili kept the gloves for the next five matches, leaving the Netherlands national team goalkeeper on the bench. At that time, the youngster even earned his own first senior appearances on the international stage, making his Georgia national team debut against Bulgaria in September at the age of 20.

Eventually in Matchday 7, Bordalás made a switch between the posts and gave Cillessen an opportunity, but Mamardashvili kept working hard in training and ensured he was ready to retake the job should the opportunity arise. It was in January that a second chance did come up when Cillessen suffered another injury in the Matchday 21 clash with Sevilla FC, although Bordalás trusted the more experienced Jaume Doménech to substitute the Dutchman in that game and to play the next one.

However, the 21-year-old retook the starting job in Matchday 23 and has played every league game since apart from two, which he had to sit out because of tonsillitis and rest. Even once Cillessen returned from this second injury, the Georgian kept the job in league play, while he also took over Copa del Rey duties from Jaume Doménech for the two-legged semi-final against Athletic Club, which Valencia CF won 2-1 on aggregate thanks to some important interventions from Mamardashvili, setting up their upcoming Copa del Rey final against Real Betis.

At this point in the season, both Cillessen and Doménech are fit and available, yet it’s Mamardashvili who is the starting goalkeeper for Valencia and the club has already triggered a purchase option in the loan deal they had with Dinamo Tbilisi. Considering the experience of other two goalkeepers, the Georgian really has overcome all odds to earn this job as he had to outperform not one but two starting calibre goalkeepers. This has been achieved through hard work, with the young shot-stopper making noticeable improvements, particularly in his aerial play, as he now catches more crosses than he punches.

Given his enthusiasm for the game and his displays between the posts, Mamardashvili has received the backing of the Valencia fanbase and also of Los Che goalkeeping icon Santiago Cañizares. He also has the trust of Bordalás and, still only 21 years of age, he is certainly one to watch for the future.

Tags Copa del Rey Giorgi Mamardashvili Valencia
La Liga - Club News