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Kalidou Koulibaly thought Rafa Benitez calls were a joke

4 years ago

Kalidou Koulibaly is away on international duty with Senegal at the moment, a squad which includes Newcastle United’s Henri Saivet.

Speaking to the media in Senegal, Koulibaly has been talking about getting phone calls from Rafa Benitez.

It was summer 2014 and the then 22 year old player was with Belgian side Genk.

Benitez was with Napoli at the time and after finishing third in Serie A in his first season there as manager, he was looking to strengthen his team/squad to challenge in both the Italian league and Champions League.

Rafa rang Kalidou Koulibaly on a number of occasions but each time the Senegal international put the phone down, believing it to be somebody playing a ‘prank’.

When the truth dawned on him that this actually Rafa Benitez, the defender admits he was ‘so embarrassed’ and ‘kept apologising’ to the now Newcastle boss.

It obviously didn’t put Rafa off the player and he bought him for £8m.

Hopefully the Newcastle Manager will be making signings of a similar calibre this summer for NUFC.

As for Kalidou Koulibaly, he has been a first team regular for these past four years and Napoli currently only two points behind Juventus in the race for the Serie A title, though they are 14 points ahead of third place Roma.

Kalidou Koulibaly talking to Orange Blog:

“I hung up on Rafa Benitez two or three times.

“I thought it was a friend of mine pulling a prank…

“I didn’t believe he would call me but it was true!

“I was so embarrassed and kept apologising.

“That transfer was exactly what I needed.”


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