Koulibaly: ‘Benzema toughest opponent, but Sarri was crazy’

by | May 14, 2022 15:26

Kalidou Koulibaly names Karim Benzema as his toughest opponent, but the Napoli defender has still not forgiven ‘crazy man’ Maurizio Sarri for a cruel snub.

The Senegal international spoke to French side Onze Mondial about his career so far and experiences at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona over the years.

That includes the infamous incident that Koulibaly simply cannot forgive, when he asked then-Napoli coach Sarri for the day off to be with his wife as she was giving birth.

Not only did the tactician deny the request and insist Koulibaly stay with the squad, he also then left the defender on the bench anyway.

“I worked with many atypical coaches, great coaches, but the craziest was Maurizio Sarri. He was passionate about tactics, working so hard that at times in training we were doing exercises for 11 men against zero.

“The craziest thing he did was when my wife was about to give birth to our son. Sarri told me I did not have the right to leave the squad to be with my wife and child. He was a crazy man.”

The centre-back turns 31 next month and is under contract with Napoli until June 2023.

He first came to the Italian club from KRC Genk in the summer of 2014.

“Of course, I prefer Sadio Mané because he is from Senegal like me and I hope he can win the Ballon d’Or one day, but Benzema is in my view one of the best strikers in the world,” added Koulibaly.

“Benzema is the forward I struggled against the most, as he is very, very intelligent. Just ask one of my friends, I said four years ago that he was the toughest I ever faced and his form now shows I was not wrong.”

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