Kalidou Koulibaly say’s he could never have worn the Juventus shirt out of respect for his time with Napoli. The Senegalese centre-back opted to move to Chelsea this summer, despite interest from a number of Serie A sides, including The Bianconeri.
Speaking to Corriere della Sera, the veteran defender, recounted his time in Naples, starting with the season he spent with Carlo Ancelotti, who left the club abruptly:
It didn’t go very well with Ancelotti in Naples?
“I’m grateful to have worked with him. He made the club grow, but at the time there was too much talk about what was happening off the pitch, including mutiny.”
Is the Premier League the most fascinating league?
“The most beautiful in the world. Less tactical, but more intense…..With my partner Thiago Silva on the pitch, we often talk about the difference with Italian tactics.”
Many young players, like Scamacca, have left Italy.
“I don’t know if they made the right choice, maybe it’s different for the attackers but as a defender the Italian school of tactics is indispensable.”
Tuchel chose you and you ended up with Potter. A different challenge?
“The beauty of football is also this: I arrive with a coach who wanted me at all costs and then he leaves. Both Tuchel and Potter play with the three-man defense, I was used to the 4-man line with Napoli. It’s another arrow that I put in my bow, you never stop learning. I knew I was going to have a hard time, and I did. Even Zola, Drogba had had the same.”
The first place for now is Arsenal.
“It will be Chelsea at the end of the season, I want to write history here.”
With the number 26 shirt?
“I asked John Terry’s permission before I took it.”
Have you been back to Naples yet?
“No, my children hosted a Neapolitan friend of theirs here. The family had never been to London, they stayed with us for four days.”
Do yourchildren speak Italian?
“Of course, and they will have to continue to do so. English is important and the school helps them in this sense.”
How do you see the Italian championship from London?
“Very balanced, with the surprise being Juve, that no one expected. I crossed paths with Milan in the Champions League, they remain a strong team.”
Have you ever had offers from Italian teams?
“Yes, but I didn’t accept them.”
Did Allegri want you?
“It’s a shirt that I could not wear, out of faith and also out of respect (for Napoli).”.
In Italy you were the victim of discriminatory incidents several times. Does it happen in England?
“Racism is a problem here too. But whoever insults is immediately
isolated from the clubs.”
Food for you is an expression of community. Do you eat African in London?
“No, for now I eat Italian!”
With Senegal you’ll be at the World Cup as holder of the African Cup.
“We must confirm, we will give everything to qualify from the group. It is a pity that Italy is not there, the World Cup is missing out.”
After football, what will there be for you?
“Who knows, maybe I’m going to be a manager in Naples!”
With De Laurentiis?
“I’ve always been polite, I don’t think I can say otherwise. If I’m at Chelsea I also owe it to him, as he brought me to Napoli.”