You don’t have respect for African players, Koulibaly slams Napoli owner
Kalidou Koulibaly has accused Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis of a lack of “respect” towards African players.
De Laurentiis claimed that he would not sign African players in future if they wanted to play in the African Cup of Nations because they lose them for long periods mid-season.
The oft-outspoken De Laurentiis said: “Enough of African players, or they should give up playing in the African Cup of Nations. I won’t be buying them any more for this reason. We pay the salaries to send them around to play elsewhere in the middle of the league championship. Or they sign a waiver that for AFCON and the championships in South America [the Copa America], I cannot make them available to participate.”
Senegal captain Koulibaly, 31, hit back at his former club president and said it is time football treated the tournament with the same respect as European competitions.
Koulibaly said: “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 playing also for Senegal, and I won AFCON when I was playing at Napoli.
“It’s true it was a difficult moment for them when we went to AFCON, but we won it and I’m really happy today.
“We have to respect the national teams also. You cannot speak about an African national team like this, I think.