Chelsea ace Kalidou Koulibaly tells Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis to show respect about AFCON

Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly bites back at his former president for his AFCON comments.

New Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has hit out at the president of his former club Napoli, who said he would would no longer be signings African players due to AFCON.

Aurelio De Laurentiis argued “we pay their wages and they go on and they go and play elsewhere at the middle of the campaign”, with AFCON held over the European winter.

Koulibaly - the captain of Senegal - hit back, saying it was disrespectful to African players, but added that he knows Neapolitans do not hold that view.

Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring the 1-0 goal during the Serie A match (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

He told his Chelsea unveiling press conference: “It’s up to him. For me the most important thing is to respect everybody. I always respect everybody.

“When I played there I was also playing for Senegal, and I won the AFCON.

“It’s true that it was a difficult moment for them when we went to the AFCON, but I’m really happy today (to have won).”

Kalidou Koulibaly speaks to the media for the first time at Chelsea. Credit: Rahman Osman

Koulibaly played 317 games for Napoli during one of the best periods in the club’s history, winning the Super Coppa, the Coppa Italia and finishing second in Serie A three times.

“We have to respect the national team also,” he added.

“You cannot speak about an African national team like this, I think. You have to have respect like 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.”

Luciano Spalletti, Manager of SSC Napoli, joins Aurelio De Laurentiis, President of SSC Napoli, (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old defender, who led his country to their first ever AFCON trophy last year, was asked if he had been approached in the past not to play for his country.

“No, never,” Koulibaly said.

“Nobody ever told me not to go to AFCON.

“Maybe sometimes they tried to ask my agent, but with me as captain of Senegal, even as a player of Senegal, when AFCON comes I want to be the first one there.

“In December I was injured, so I came to Senegal early to start my training with the team. I was really happy and excited to start the AFCON.

“Nobody can tell me not to go to my national team. I have a lot of love for my national team, for my country, for the people I play for.

“If somebody tells me not to go there, it’s the only time I will fight with somebody.

“We are all respectful. We waited for everyone to come from the Premier League a bit late, but when everybody came everybody was happy to be there.

“I think in Africa we all think like this. We have respect for everybody, but if someone tells them to not come they will all fight to come.

“It’s the most important thing, and everybody has to give us respect like we give respect to everybody.”