- Senegal and Chelsea central defender Kalidou Koulibaly has responded to Aurelio De Laurentiis' comments about not signing African players
- According to the Italian film producer, it is unjust for European clubs to keep paying salaries to African players while they are representing other interests
- Kalidou Koulibaly worked under Aurelio De Laurentiis for eight seasons, playing a total of 317 games during his stint with Napoli
New Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly has hit back at Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis following the latter's claim of not signing African players due to AFCON commitments.
The outspoken Napoli owner vowed he will only permit the signing of African players at the Partenopei if they decline the chance of representing their nations at the Africa Cup of Nations.
However, his ill-informed stance has drawn widespread criticism, especially from stakeholders on the continent.
Joining the bandwagon to voice his dissatisfaction with the comments of De Laurentiis, Kalidou Koulibaly, who spent eight years at Napoli before joining Chelsea this summer, asked the 73-year-old to show more respect to the continent's flagship competition.
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“It’s up to him,” Koulibaly said of De Laurentiis via the Athletic. “For me the most important thing is to respect everybody. I always respect everybody. When I played there I was playing also for Senegal, and I won the AFCON. It’s true that it was a difficult moment for them [Napoli] when we went to the AFCON, but I’m really happy today [to have won].
He continued: “We have to respect the national team also. You cannot speak about an African national team like this, I think. You have to have respect as you have for the other national teams. As captain of Senegal, I think it’s not a good way to speak about the national team, but I respect what he thinks. If he thinks the team can play without African players, it’s up to him.
“But I think not everyone in the club has the same idea as him. I know everybody over there, I know the supporters and the supporters don’t think like this. It’s up to him, but it’s not an idea of the society of the city, because the city is really respectful. This is what he thinks, not what the city is thinking or the society is thinking.”
Napoli chief De Laurentiis vows not to sign African players
Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has said that he will no longer buy players who turn out for African national teams.
De Laurentiis has claimed that he will only buy African players unless they vow not to represent their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations(AFCON).
In a statement bound to cause widespread reactions from African football stakeholders, De Laurentiis has said that it is unfair for European clubs to keep paying salaries to these players while they are representing other interests.
Source: Sports Brief News