Koulibaly made big decision; snubbed France and played for Senegal

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Kalidou Koulibaly revealed how he chose playing for Senegal ahead of France where he was born.

Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly explained how he made a big decision on playing for Senegal while snubbed France.

The former Napoli defender was born and raise in the town of Saint-Die in the north-east of France by his Senegalese parent.

Koulibaly stated his professional career in Metz, before he moved to Belgium, Italy and now England with Genk, Napoli and Chelsea.

The defender stated that he was motivated to play football when he watched the France National team lift the World cup in 1998.

When he was young, he had to idolize the two of the French players that motivated him while growing up.

“Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram,” Koulibaly said, when asked by the official Chelsea media who inspired him as a young player. “I was French. I am French. I was born in France, so I grew up with them as my example, and it helped me a lot.

“As French guys with African origins, I was watching them like big stars, idols. Today, I speak with Lilian Thuram and he gives me a lot of advice, a lot of help.”

Despite that childhood in France, the Chelsea centre-back has never forgotten his African origins, as shown by his decision to represent his parents’ homeland Senegal in his own international career.

“It was a big, big choice, because I could have played with the French national team, but at 23 or 24 years old I decided to play for Senegal, because they were waiting for me.

“I spoke with the coach, he gave me good motivation and good reasons to come, and I also spoke with my family. The most important people were my parents – they told me that I have to do what I want, but when I told them that I wanted to play for the Senegal national team, I saw the light in their eyes and I knew it was a good choice.

“When I arrived and I saw the other players, it was like they were my family, because we were all used to eating the same things at home, to speaking the same language at home, so for me it was like I was home! I said to myself, ‘Why didn’t I come before? They are like my brothers’.

“We had a good dynamic, a good spirit, and when you have that, it brings you a lot of good vibes. This helped us a lot, because in the difficult moments, you need this to achieve something.”



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