Kalidou Koulibaly has confessed that 2022 felt like the fitting time to lastly make his long-awaited transfer to Chelsea.
The Senegal centre-back had been linked to the Blues for round six years earlier than lastly finishing a swap from Napoli to Stamford Bridge this summer time, serving to to fill the void left behind by Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
“It’s true that it’s a very long time that the Premier League wished me to return,” Koulibaly advised his introductory press convention. “I imagine in God and this stuff so the second was now. Possibly earlier than no one was prepared and Napoli didn’t need me to return.
“I’m not a participant that likes to go combating with my membership to depart. I’ve numerous respect for the proprietor and supporters however I feel that this time was the nice time to depart Napoli. I made eight years over there, had numerous good moments with the supporters, my teammates, the membership.
“I realized rather a lot about soccer so I made a decision with my family and friends to return with Chelsea. They’re the one membership that wished actually that I come. We had the primary hyperlink in 2016 when [Antonio] Conte got here right here and wished me to return.
“It didn’t occur however I used to be all the time linked to Chelsea and this time the celebrities had been in an excellent line so I got here right here and I’m actually pleased to affix Chelsea and the Premier League.”
He added: “My brother is an enormous fan of the Blues. He obligated me to look at Chelsea video games. Once I signed right here, he was pleased. This helped me rather a lot. It made my selection simpler and safe for me. I wish to have love with me.”
Koulibaly additionally mentioned his telephone name with Chelsea legend John Terry over his taking of the well-known quantity 26 shirt.
“I used to be nervous a bit as I used to be ready to signal my contract with Chelsea,” he started. “I wished to know which quantity was free. The supervisor did not inform me about 26. No person took it since 2017.
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“So I requested Gianfranco Zola, who advised me the story of Chelsea, the quantity for John to ask him for the jersey. He gave me the quantity and I known as him. In the beginning he did not imagine that it was me, he thought it was a joke. He known as the group supervisor to ask if it was me.
“I do know it is an essential quantity. When he advised me sure, I used to be very pleased. I do know what he did for the membership, metropolis and supporters.”
Lastly, Koulibaly pressured that he doesn’t wish to be seen a substitute for Rudiger, however merely only a new signing in a brand new period.
“He is a extremely good participant, I do know what he did for Chelsea,” the defender stated. “I am pleased for him to affix Actual Madrid. However for me, it is not a strain. I am pleased to be right here.
“I do not wish to be a man who replaces Rudiger, I am Koulibaly.”