Saturday July 11 2020
Koulibaly: 'Why all the transfer speculation?'

Kalidou Koulibaly told Napoli transfer target Victor Osimhen he’d have ‘no problems with racism’ in Naples and ‘can’t understand’ why he’s always linked with a move to other clubs.

The defender spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport and you can read the rest of his interview here.

“My family is very happy in Naples, I’ve been here for six years and if they hadn’t been happy, I would have already left. My children speak Italian as well as French, it’s a beautiful place to live.

“I hear talk every day that I am supposed to leave, but I am happy here and can’t understand why there is this constant talk of transfers when there’s nothing on the horizon. Every day it’s a new rumour.”

Speaking of transfers speculation, is it true that Lille striker Osimhen called Koulibaly to ask about the potential of suffering racist abuse in Italy?

“It’s true, he did call me. We talked about racism and I told him that coming to Naples, he’d have no problems, this is the right city. I too have felt the bitter experience of racist insults, but never in Naples. I reassured him, if he is to come here, it’s the best choice. The rest is up to the directors.”

Napoli have turned a corner since Gennaro Gattuso took over from Carlo Ancelotti in December, although the Senegal international was forced to watch a lot of it from the sidelines.

“Gattuso’s arrival brought a breath of fresh air and optimism to everyone. It’s disappointing I got injured the same day as his debut, but the quarantine actually did me a lot of good. I set up a gym in my garage to rediscover my fitness and I’m getting there. I paid a price for playing in the Africa Cup of Nations and my body just wasn’t reacting the way it usually does.”

Napoli won the Coppa Italia, have climbed back up to joint fifth place in Serie A and will face Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16, having drawn the first leg 1-1.

“We know Barcelona’s quality, but we too have top level players and can compete with them. We’re not going to Camp Nou on a daytrip, that much I can guarantee.

“We must prepare for the Champions League, because these are going to be one-off games and the result cannot be taken for granted.”