“I did not cry when I arrived in Naples. But one thing is for sure: I will cry when I leave the city. The words, in advance, come from Kalidou Koulibaly. The time has come. Since this Saturday, the greatest Vosges footballer is ever longer a player from Naples, where he had settled in Genk in 2014. The deodorant will give his formidable career an English accent by joining the prestigious club Chelsea.Playing in the famous “Premier League” .As always with this man, whose humility is well-established, it went smoothly.With elegance.Friday night, Kalidou Koulibaly made sure to say goodbye to Naples and the Neapolitans.Where he has matured in his football for eight years.Where he with his wife Charline, also a Déodatienne, welcomed his two little ones, Seni the Elder and his sister Nessa (3 years old). “1. June 2014, an unforgettable date: my arrival in Naples, a love story. I was a shy boy, but with a great desire to prove to the world that I could do it! Victories, defeats, joys, disappointments, many emotions that we went through together. I have everything in my mind and in my heart. Thanks to you, Naples, I became the man I am today. Thank you to the club, to the president, to the coaches, to my teammates, to all the people I had the pleasure of working with. Thank you, Naples and the Neapolitans, for all the love we have given each other. Now I feel like I’m going on a new adventure. Naples, forever in my heart. »
A few hours later, as a 31-year-old recently, Kellermann’s child began a four-season contract at Chelsea. A transfer estimated at € 40 million. “I’m very happy to be at Chelsea. They are a fantastic team in the world and my dream has always been to play in the Premier League. Chelsea were the first club to ask me in 2016, but they did not succeed. They came back to me and I accepted because they really wanted me to come. ”
Several aspects came into play. As Napoli had not been able to extend it (Napoli had offered him a final five-year contract for € 6 million net a year according to sporting director Cristiano Giuntoli), Napoli could not bring themselves to see him go free next January. The player had also reached the end of his history in Italy. If Kalidou Koulibaly was adored in Naples, Napoli could not offer him the conditions for a European coronation in the club. And hard to imagine that the various intolerable episodes of insults and racist screams in certain Italian stadiums did not crush him.
What an itinerary for this kid from Saint-Dié who used his pants on the benches at Vincent-Auriol Elementary School and Vautrin Lud College. And as in the evening sent his homework to play wild matches at the gate to the family home. And what an exemplary course, a source of inspiration for the kids in his neighborhood and elsewhere! “I started from almost nothing, I was not very talented in the base. It’s hard work that paid off, ”reminded us of“ Kouli, ”his nickname in the Kellermann district.
Voted best defender several times and member of the eleven-type of Calcio in Italy, nominated for Ballon d’Or 2019, winner of the Italian Cup (2020), winner of CAN 2022, the first of Senegal, Kalidou Koulibaly is approx. to play his second World Cup in Qatar. And something tells us that the beautiful story of Kellermann’s icon has not yet reached its epilogue.
Gaëtan Bussmann: “For me it is a logical continuation and a new push in his career”
Gaëtan Bussmann (ex-player from FC Erzgebriege Aue, German D2, passed FC Metz, where he rubbed his shoulders with, among others, Kalidou and Epinal):
“For me, his arrival at Chelsea is not a surprise, it is normal. It is a logical continuation and a new push in his career. Kalidou fully deserves it, we get nothing for nothing in this environment. He had arrived in my opinion “to the end of his adventure with Napoli. It must have been hard for him emotionally because he spent eight years there, with real ties. But that was the last step that was still missing in his career.”
Olivier Perrin (Vosgien coached Kalidou in U17 at FC Metz, where he held the position of head coach and manager of Generation Foot Academy in Senegal):
“I am very happy for Kalidou. He will finally develop into a team capable of winning the Champions League and going to the prize list he deserves. The only thing he lacks is that. I wish this kind of transfer took place two years earlier, but it pleases all the people who love him, including myself. »
Philippe Pissot (teacher and youth educator from Kalidou to Saint-Dié):
“Here, Kalidou goes a step further by signing for a European top 5 club. He is an excellent sporting choice, I love him and glad he chose this kind of club. He will quickly adapt to English football and the Premier League, I trust him. »