Kalidou Koulibaly

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Kalidou Koulibaly
Koulibaly-azione-napoli-novembre-2015-ifa (cropped).jpg
Koulibaly playing for Napoli in 2015
Personal information
Full name Kalidou Koulibaly[1]
Date of birth (1991-06-20) 20 June 1991 (age 28)[2]
Place of birth Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)[3] [4]
Playing position Centre back
Club information
Current team
Napoli
Number 26
Youth career
1999–2003 Saint-Dié
2003–2006 Metz
2006–2009 Saint-Dié
2009–2010 Metz
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2011 Metz II 31 (2)
2010–2012 Metz 41 (1)
2012–2014 Genk 64 (3)
2014– Napoli 158 (10)
National team
2011–2012 France U20 11 (0)
2015– Senegal 38 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:35, 11 June 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:10, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

Kalidou Koulibaly (born 20 June 1991) is a professional footballer who plays as centre back for Serie A club Napoli and the Senegal national team.

Koulibaly began his professional club career with French team Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgian club Genk in 2012, winning the Belgian Cup in his first season. He joined Italian team Napoli in 2014, where he immediately won the Supercoppa Italiana title.

As Koulibaly was born in France to Senegalese parents, he was eligible to represent both nations at international level, and initially played for the France national under-20 football team. He later made his senior debut with Senegal in 2015 and was a member of the Senegal squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He was named to the side that represented Senegal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup the following year, and subsequently helped his team to the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Early life

Koulibaly was born on 20 June 1991, to Senegalese parents in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France. His footballing career began with local club SR Saint-Dié.[5] He then joined FC Metz in his first spell but when was released at fifteen, which according to the club’s Academy Manager, Denis Schaeffer, Koulibaly was let go "because he was too introverted, and his level was a little below our expectations."[6]

Club career

Early career

Koulibaly began his career playing for his hometown club SR Saint-Dié's youth team; he spent two seasons playing for the club's senior team in the Championnat de France Amateur 2, before joining the youth academy of professional club Metz on 1 July 2009.[7] While at Metz, Koulibaly helped the club's under-19 team win the 2009–10 Coupe Gambardella after the team defeated Sochaux 5–4 on penalties in the final.[8] He also played for the club's amateur team in the Championnat de France Amateur appearing in 15 matches as Metz were crowned champions of the league finishing with 107 points.[9]

Metz

Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season, Koulibaly signed his first professional contract agreeing to a one-year deal. He was, subsequently, promoted to the senior team by new manager Dominique Bijotat. Koulibaly made his professional debut on 20 August 2010 in a league match against Vannes. He appeared as a substitute in a 1–0 victory.[10] Following this, Kouliably became a first team regular for the side after dispatching the place from Nuno Frechaut.[11] On 15 April 2011, he scored his first goal for FC Metz, as they drew 3–3 against Clermont.[12] Three days later, Koulibaly signed a three–year contract extension with the club, keeping him until 2014.[5] At the end of the 2010–11 season, he went on to make nineteen appearances and scoring once in all competitions. Reflecting on his first season at FC Metz, Manager Bijotat said of him, quoting: "Kalidou Koulibaly is perhaps the one who surprised the most people, while being the one who surprised me the least personally. I knew that it would come to him because it was already showing a good maturity. He's always in the right mood and does not catch fire, it's important to the job he's doing. He also knows how to analyze his own matches, which brings him to a certain regularity in his performances. Conversely, we thought Yeni Ngbakoto was the closest to the group, but it took longer to come. He had a difficult start, between suspension and injury. It took him longer to settle on the team. His game was not settled, in this area he has progressed in recent weeks and must still win in consistency."[13]

However, at the start of the 2011–12 season, Koulibaly missed the first five league matches of the season, due to international commitment.[14] His first appearance of the 2011–12 season came on 9 September 2011, coming as a substitute in the 60th minutes, in a 2–2 draw against Stade Lavallois.[15] However, he served a two match suspension after being sent–off for a unprofessional conduct on Guillaume Moullec, as FC Metz lost 1–0 on 30 September 2011.[16] Despite this, Koulibaly returned to the first team and then captained the side for the first time on 2 December 2011, in a 2–0 win over AS Monaco.[17] He continued to regain his first team place until suspension and injury, which eventually kept him out for the rest of the 2011–12 season.[18] At the end of the 2011–12 season, Koulibaly went on to make twenty–three appearances in all competitions.

Genk

Koulibaly playing for Genk in 2014.

Koulibaly joined Belgian club Genk on 29 June 2012 after agreeing a four-year contract.[19] Among interested was Anderlecht but Genk won the race to sign him.[20]

On 23 August 2012, Koulibaly made his Genk debut in a UEFA Europa League play-off qualifying round, in which they were defeated by Swiss team Luzern 2–1 in the first leg of two.[21][22] Since joining the club, he became a first team regular for the side, playing mostly in the centre–back position.[23] In a match against OH Leuven on 25 November 2012, Koulibaly made a foul in the penalty box at the last minute of the game, which was successfully converted by Ibou, as Genk drew 1–1.[24] On 23 December 2012, Koulibaly scored his first Racing Genk goal in a 4–2 home defeat to Anderlecht,[21] in which he scored a free header from a corner, to make amends for his mistake.[25] He later helped Genk win the 2012–13 Belgian Cup after starting the whole game to beat Cercle Brugge.[26] At the end of the 2012–13 season, Koulibaly went on to make forty–six appearances and scoring once in all competitions.

The 2013–14 season saw Koulibaly began playing in the centre–back position, where he continued to form a partnership with Kara Mbodji.[27] He then scored two goals in two matches between 6 October 2013 and 19 October 2013.[28] Koulibaly started in every matches since the start of the season until he suffered a knee injury during a 2–0 loss against Lokeren on 8 December 2013.[29] A month later on 19 January 2014, Koulibaly returned to the starting lineup from injury, starting the whole game, in a 1–0 loss against Zulte Waregem.[30] Koulibaly continued to regain his place in the first team for the rest of the season.[31] However, he missed the remaining three league matches of the season, due to his imminent transfer move to Napoli.[32] Despite this, Koulibaly went on to make forty–six appearances and scoring two times in all competitions.

Napoli

Koulibaly playing for Napoli in 2015.

Koulibaly joined Serie A club S.S.C. Napoli on 2 July 2014 on a five-year contract, for a fee around the margin of £6.5 million.[33]

He made his debut on 19 August in a UEFA Champions League play-off round qualifier, in which Napoli drew 1–1 with Athletic Bilbao.[21] Napoli went on to lose the second leg 3–1, therefore sending them out of the competition.[21] Koulibaly scored his first goal for the Italian team on 24 September in a 3–3 draw with Palermo.[21] In April 2019 Koulibaly was the victim of racist abuse from an apparent Arsenal fan during a match between the two teams.[34]

International career

Koulibaly was born and raised in France by Senegalese parents, and was therefore eligible for both nations. He played for the French under-20 team starting in 2011 and played six times during the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.[35]

However, in early September 2015, Koulibaly changed federations and joined the Senegal national football team, despite the interest to call him for Les Bleus from Didier Deschamps.[36][37] He made his debut on 5 September 2015 in an AFCON qualifier against Namibia in a 2–0 victory.[38] He was a member of the Senegal squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.[39]

In May 2018, he was named in Senegal's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[40] Koulibaly played all three matches, as Senegal were knocked out in the group stage of the tournament after becoming the first team in FIFA World Cup history to be eliminated due to fair play tiebreaker rules.[41]

Style of play

A large, aggressive, quick, and physically strong yet elegant player, Koulibaly is recognised for his aerial prowess, anticipation, positioning, tackling, character, technique, and passing ability as a defender. He has also been praised by pundits for his overall solidity as a player, and his ability to make interceptions; however, he has also drawn criticism for giving away too many fouls. Due to his versatility, he can play both in his usual role as a central defender, or as a full back on either the right or left flank, in both a three or four-man defence; he has even been deployed as a defensive midfielder. During his time at Napoli, his ability to play the ball out from the back saw him function as a ball-playing centre-back in manager Maurizio Sarri's attacking, possession based-system.[42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50] Currently considered to be one of the best and most complete defenders in world football in the media,[46][48][51][52] his ability, playing style, tall stature, and imposing physique have earned him the nicknames K2[44][46][36] and The Wall from his fans.[53]

Personal life

In May 2019, it was announced that Koulibaly was named as an honorary citizen of Naples.[54] Koulibaly and his wife, Charline Oudenot, have a son together named Seni.[55]

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 25 May 2019
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup[a] League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Metz II 2009–10[56] CFA 2 16 0 16 0
2010–11[56] CFA 15 2 15 2
Total 31 2 31 2
Metz 2010–11[56] Ligue 2 19 1 2 0 0 0 21 1
2011–12[56] Ligue 2 22 0 3 0 0 0 25 0
Total 41 1 5 0 0 0 46 1
Genk 2012–13[21] Belgian Pro League 31 1 6 0 9[b] 0 46 1
2013–14[21] Belgian Pro League 33 2 3 0 9[b] 0 1[c] 0 46 2
Total 64 3 9 0 18 0 1 0 92 3
Napoli 2014–15[21] Serie A 27 1 2 0 9[d] 0 1[e] 0 39 1
2015–16[21] Serie A 33 0 2 0 7[b] 0 42 0
2016–17[21] Serie A 28 2 2 0 8[f] 0 38 2
2017–18[21] Serie A 35 5 2 0 8[g] 0 45 5
2018–19[21] Serie A 35 2 2 0 11[h] 0 48 2
Total 158 10 10 0 43 0 1 0 212 10
Career total 294 16 24 0 0 0 61 0 2 0 381 16
  1. ^ Includes Coupe de France, Belgian Cup, Coppa Italia
  2. ^ a b c Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ Appearance in Belgian Super Cup
  4. ^ Two appearances in UEFA Champions League, seven in UEFA Europa League
  5. ^ Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana
  6. ^ Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  7. ^ Seven appearances in UEFA Champions League, one in UEFA Europa League
  8. ^ Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, five in UEFA Europa League

International

As of match played 27 July 2019[57]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Senegal 2015 5 0
2016 7 0
2017 9 0
2018 9 0
2019 8 0
Total 38 0

Honours

Club

Genk

Napoli

Individual

References

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  4. ^ "Koulibaly (Player's Tribune interview): ADL though I was taller and was surprised when he met me. "Weren't you 1.95 m tall?", to which I replied no, and that I was 1.86 m. "What the heck! In all the documents they said you were 1.95 m – I need to speak to Genk to have some of our money back!"". Tutto Napoli. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
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External links