Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, has confirmed Lille striker Victor Osimhen called him to make an enquiry about racism in Italy ahead of a potential switch to the Stadio San Paolo outfit.
The Nigeria international has been linked to the Parthenopeans and the 29-year-old affirmed the forward has reached out to him.
The Super Eagle striker delivered impressive performances in his debut season with the Mastiffs which have seen a number of European clubs jostle for his signature.
The forward scored 18 goals and provided six assists in 38 appearances to help Lille finish fourth in the French top-flight last season, and won the club’s player of the season for his displays.
Napoli is leading in the race to sign the 21-year-old forward but recently, his agent expressed his concern about racism in Italy.
Koulibaly arrived at Stadio San Paolo in the summer of 2014 from Belgian club Genk and has developed into one of the best defenders in the world.
The Senegal international, who has experienced racist abuse in the European country, revealed the advice he gave to Osimhen when he reached out to him.
“It is true that he called me. We talked about racism, I told him that coming to Naples he won’t have these problems, he will choose the right city,” Koulibaly told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I too felt the bitterness of the racist insult, but never in Naples. I reassured him, I told him that if he comes, he will have the best choice. Then, the rest will have to be done by the leaders. “
Koulibaly has also been linked to a number of European clubs, including Manchester United, Juventus and Manchester City, but has revealed he is enjoying himself with the Parthenopeans and suggested he could end his career with the side.
“My family is doing very well in Naples and this makes me happy. If I have been here for six years, it is only thanks to them, because if they had not been well, I would have already gone away,” he continued.
“My children speak Italian as well as French. At home, we speak both languages. Here we live peacefully, I hear that I will go away, but here I am fine, I do not understand why we should talk about the market when there is nothing on the horizon. Every day there is a new one.
“In football, you never know what happens. I never spoke to the club that I wanted to leave. If we have to find a solution, we will find it, but I have never talked about the market.
“I also read in the newspapers of my future. But I only want to think about playing, I am 100% of Napoli and it bothers me to be approached, every day, to this or that European club.
“We will see what the President will decide, if he proposes to me to extend the contract, which, therefore, would allow me to end my career here.
“At the moment, I still have a three-year contract: there are many, and I am not thinking of anything else but Napoli.
“I wouldn’t say no [to end my career in Napoli]. But I don’t want to deceive anyone. We know how things are in football. Maybe you say you stay for life and then you are sold.
“So I tell the fans that I will give 200-300 percent until I wear this shirt. I have a special relationship with the people of Naples, a pure feeling ”
The defender has not been at his best in this campaign owing to injury problems and other issues, which have limited his playing time, as he has only featured in 19 Serie A games.
The 29-year-old, who helped Senegal finish as runner-up in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, however, admitted the coronavirus lockdown has helped him to work on himself and hopes to regain his fitness soon.
“The quarantine has done me a lot of good, I have worked at home, I have equipped a gym in the garage to regain physical fitness: I am getting there,” he added.
“I know I haven’t been to the top this year, even though I did well in the Champions League. This will not be my worst season. I paid for the participation in the Africa Cup of Nations, I took the fatigue with me.”
Koulibaly will be expected to play a part when Napoli take on AC Milan in their next league game on Sunday.