Napoli defender and Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly has boldly admitted that he sometimes thinks of the time he ‘wasted’ as he waited for a call-up from the French national team.
The 31-year old, considered one of the best centre backs in Europe, had the chance to play for the current world champions but at the age of 24 settled for the Lions of Teranga. He however represented France in the U-20 level, featuring six times in the Fifa U20 World Cup finals in Colombia.
In 2015, however, he decided to switch allegiance, just when he was starting to create a buzz and possible consideration from Didier Deschamps.
Speaking to Onze Mondial as quoted by Foot Mercato, the defender admitted he might have wasted two years as he pondered on his international future.
“Those who hesitate? I put myself in the box because I am part of it too. I came late, I joined the national team of Senegal at 24 years old when I had already been asked one or two years before,” he said.
“It is true that it is a reflection to have, everyone wants to play for the French national selections. But afterwards, when you realise that you’ve wasted your time, you bite your fingers.
“Personally, I really bit my fingers. I knew Senegal could give me the chance to play internationally, and despite that, I waited two years. And two years, that’s about thirty games. I was unable to play for 30 games with my national team and I still bite my fingers today.”
With Senegal, however, Koulibaly has enjoyed some success as well, as he captained the side to glory in the Africa Cup of Nations in February 2022. Senegal are also in the World Cup, after an impressive qualifier campaign so the Lions of Teranga book a ticket to Qatar at the expense of Egypt.
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