Born, raised and schooled in France, Kaliduou Koulibaly could very easily have also been drenched by rain and confetti on the winner’s podium inside Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, When France won the World Cup in July.
Koulibaly was born and raised in France by Senegalese parents, so he is eligible to play for both nations. He played 2011-12 for France under 20 National Team.
As his career progressed, having started with Metz in France before passing through Belgium (with Genk) en route to joining Napoli in 2014, Koulibaly waited for a call that never came from France coach Didier Deschamps.
Nonetheless, in early September 2015, he switched federation and moved to the Senegal national team.
Koulibaly said, “When I saw the light in the eyes of my parents when I told them I had chosen Senegal, I was really happy and comfortable with my choice.”
Koulibaly had no regrets by his decision to choose the Lions of Teranga over his native country. He said, “I don’t have any regrets because I want to write the story of the future of Senegal football and I hope I’ll be able to do that…”
“My parents were migrants and I have experienced first hand the challenge they had to overcome, if they hadn’t decided to seek a better life elsewhere, I could never have aspired to become the person I am now”
Born in north-eastern France to Senegalese parents, Koulibaly says he has been heavily influenced by the multi-cultural nature of his upbringing.
“I had the French culture at school and I love this culture but I also had another culture at home – that of Senegal, I think this way of growing up has made me the person I am today – because I had the two cultures.”
Nonetheless, he is now a regular in the heart of Senegal’s defense while also steadily gaining a growing pool of admirers after a series of impressive seasons for his Italian side.
Among those admirers are Manchester United who Napoli have given a £140m quotation, and Koulibaly has a shot at becoming the most expensive defender if Manchester United can cough out that sum.