Article

Koulibaly would stay at Napoli ´forever´

18 January 2018 17:41

Kalidou Koulibaly would happily stay at Napoli "forever" as he feels he owes the club and fans at least one Serie A title.

The centre-back joined Napoli from Belgian club Genk in 2014 and, although he initially had some problems convincing Rafael Benitez, has become a key part of the team under Maurizio Sarri.

Koulibaly has regularly attracted interest from elsewhere over the last two years, with Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said to be an admirer of the Senegal international.

But the 26-year-old is in no rush to jump ship at Napoli, as he is eager to win the Scudetto with them and potentially spend the rest of his career in Naples.

"For my family and the fans, and if the contract was good, I wouldn't have a problem signing and staying forever," Koulibaly told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I am really happy at Napoli. The city and the team have given me everything. I want to give back to the Neapolitans; I want to give them the Scudetto.

"I've grown a lot so far. When I first came to Italy I needed a year to adapt, and that was not easy. Back then I told myself that I deserved this great team. I started to work hard.

"Now I am making the most of my efforts and sacrifices, but of course I will not stop here."

Koulibaly credited Sarri with playing a major role in his development, recounting a chat they had just after the Italian's arrival as coach in 2015.

"I had some issues with Benitez," Koulibaly said. "I was benched and that was a really important moment because I worked on myself a lot and saw things from the outside, as well as on a tactical level.

"I made myself prove that they were not wrong to sign me and that I could become one of the best defenders in the Italian league.

"When Sarri arrived, he said to me: 'Listen to me and you will become a champion.'

"That was important as it gave me confidence at a time where things were not going well. There was a Europa League game against Club Brugge which was a turning point for me and the team. I would say that was the key moment of my career."

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