Name: Jano Ananidze
Club: FC Spartak Moskva
Debut: 15 July 2009 v FC Krasnodar (Russian Cup)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Date of birth: 10/10/92
Standing 170cm tall and weighing just 60kg he may be small in stature, but Ananidze has already made big waves in the Russian Premier League. Last year, the diminutive teenager became the youngest goalscorer in Russian league history and at 18 years of age the exciting midfielder already boasts UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and international experience.
Born in the small Georgian coastal town of Kobuleti, on the shores of the Black Sea, Ananidze soon followed the footsteps of his father Amiran, who played for his local team before turning to coaching. Ananidze played for his hometown club before joining FC Dinamo Tbilisi's youth academy at the age of 12. Within 18 months he was on FC Dynamo Kyiv's books before accepting Spartak's offer to move to the Russian capital in summer 2007.
Spartak Moskva's scouts were first alerted to the midfielder's ability when he gave a lively performance for Georgia Under-17s against Russia in Moscow. Ananidze was still 16 when promoted to the capital club's reserves and by 2009 had been invited to take part in training sessions with the first team. He made his competitive debut the same year playing all 90 minutes against FC Krasnodar in the Russian Cup round of 32, crowning a memorable performance with the winning goal.
Three months later Ananidze became the youngest scorer in Russian league history when he struck against FC Lokomotiv Moskva at the age of 17 years and eight days. Despite a number of rumours linking the youngster with moves to Arsenal FC, AC Milan and Juventus, Spartak insisted they were not interested in selling their rising star.
Ananidze was voted Georgia's 2009 Player of the Year after becoming his country's youngest debutant in a 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying defeat by Italy in September 2009.
Although in his second full season he found it difficult to match the high standards of his breakthrough campaign, Ananidze can reflect on two more impressive performances: his two goals against FC Sibir Novosibirsk in July that helped Spartak to a 5-3 victory, and the winning goal in Georgia's 2-1 friendly win against Slovenia in November.
FC Basel 1893 2-3 FC Spartak Moskva
17/02/2011, UEFA Europa League
After being largely overlooked during the UEFA Champions League group stage, Ananidze took to the pitch at Basel with his team trailing 2-0 at half-time of their round of 32 first-leg encounter. The visitors suddenly found their feet and were soon on level terms, while Ananidze added the coup de grace by scoring a free-kick deep into added time to seal a memorable 3-2 comeback win.
"I am happy to play for Spartak Moskva. I like Spartak's style much more than Dynamo Kyiv's."
On life at Spartak
"I really enjoy playing just behind the strikers, though I can be deployed both on the right and on the left of midfield. The main thing is to help the team."
On his favourite position
I dream about winning the UEFA Champions League, but first of all we need to win the Russian league with Spartak Moskva."
On his ambitions
"Jano can fall like a feather after a tackle, but that's OK. He can beat opponents because of his ability to think quickly and his skill on the ball."
Valeri Karpin, Spartak coach
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.