Kalidou Koulibaly joined Napoli from Genk in 2014 and the defender saw his career take off. Since the move to Italy there’s been a string of transfer attempts for the 26 year old, with some of them valuing him very highly indeed.
It hasn’t been unusual to see Koulibaly transfer claims with the fee well in excess of €40m, but Napoli have no intention to sell, or haven’t yet at least, and they’ve kept a defender who has established himself as one of Serie A’s better options.
It could of course have been very different, Genk to Napoli was a huge jump, and Koulibaly himself credits Rafael Benitez with helping him adapt and then impress.
Benitez, now manager at Newcastle United, doesn’t exactly get a lot of praise for his time at Napoli, but Koulibaly isn’t afraid to dish some out.
At the start of a lengthy interview with Il Messaggerao, Koulibaly explained: “When I was in Italian football, I found it was completely different. Benitez helped me and in the end it didn’t go wrong.”
Benitez probably ends up receiving more blame sent to Newcastle than praise for his Napoli tenure, so it’s nice to have Koulibaly point out his help.