Kalidou Koulibaly, a former teammate of Nigeria's Victor Osimhen, has slammed Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, following his declaration that he would never longer sign African players unless they decline to participate at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Osimhen's former teammate Koulibaly hits back at Napoli president
De Laurentiis had vowed in an interview that Napoli will never sign another African player again except that player agrees to not participate in the AFCON.
Following a prosperous eight-year stint in the Serie A, Koulibaly made a £34 million move to the Stamford Bridge this summer, from Naples.
The Senegal captain reacting to De Laurentiis' comments, criticised him heavily, stating that it was important to respect everybody including African footballers.
Koulibaly criticizes De Laurentiis
“It’s up to him if he wants to tell this,” Koulibaly began at his Chelsea unveiling press conference at Cobham on Wednesday. “But for me, it is important to always respect everybody.
“When I played there [Napoli], I also played for Senegal. I won the AFCON when I was playing in Napoli. It was indeed a difficult moment for them when we went to the AFCON, but we won it and I am really happy today. We just want respect for the African national teams also. We need respect for them like the European national teams.
“As the captain of Senegal, I think it is not a good way to speak about the national team but I respect what he thinks. If he thinks that the team can play without African players then it is up to him. I think that not everybody has the same idea of the club as him.
“I know everybody there. I know the supporters and they don’t think like this. I know some people who are part of this association and team who don’t have the same idea as him. It is not the idea of the society or city because the city is very respectful to everyone.
“I think these words are what he thinks and not what the city or society thinks.”
De Laurentiis' comments on African players
While speaking to Smart Talk on Wall Street Italia, De Laurentiis vowed the club will never again sign another African player except that player agrees to not participate in AFCON.
“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore. I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!"
The African players currently on Napoli's ranks includes Osimhen (Nigeria), Adam Ounas (Algeria), and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon) who recently joined Napoli from Fulham for €15 million.