The 31-year-old center-back joined Chelsea from Napoli for €40m. The former Napoli centre-back, who appeared in 236 matches for the Serie A side, condemned Napoli’s president's controversial plan on forbidding Napoli players from playing in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Due to the AFCON 2021 tournament that was held last January and February,Napoli
missed Cameroon international Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa and Senegal defender Koulibaly while Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen missed out because of an injury.
With a huge effect on Napoli’s Serie A season,De Laurentiis proposed the controversial policy
on Tuesday that obliges any African player who joined the Serie A club should commit to skip the tournament, which next will be held in 2024.
told a news conference in London:
"It's up to him if he wanted to tell this, but for me the most important [thing] is to respect everybody.
"When I played there, I was playing also for Senegal, and I won the AFCON with Senegal when I was playing with Napoli.
"It's true that it was a difficult moment for them when we went to AFCON, but we won it and I'm really happy today."
Despite all the struggles,Luciano Spalletti
's team took 13 points from a possible 15 from their first five league games of the year through January and February.
"You cannot speak for African national teams like this, I think. You have to have respect, like you have for other national teams.
"As captain of Senegal, I think that this is not a good way to speak about African national teams.
"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 everybody has the same idea as him at the club.
"I know that some people who are part of this society and team do not have the same idea as him. It's not the idea of the society or the city, because the city is very respectful."
Koulibaly will be in action with Chelsea when they kick off their Premier League season on Saturday againstEverton
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