Rafael Benitez thinks Kalidou Koulibaly won’t dominate Premier League

Rafael Benitez thinks Kalidou Koulibaly won’t dominate Premier League

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17 Jul 2022
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Kalidou Coulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer amid much fanfare, but Rafael Benitez, who knows him well, has some more sobering news.


What did Rafa say about Kalidou Koulibaly?

The Senegalese international won’t dominate the Blues the way he did with Napoli, according to the former Napoli chief, who has doubts about his concentration and aerial ability. The Blues have spent heavily on the centre-back as they continue to reform their squad this summer with the £34m buyout of the Senegalese player from the Serie A side. Kalidou has long been regarded as one of the best defenders in Italian football – however Rafael, who coached him at Napoli, says his weaknesses could be exploited more readily in the PL.

The ex-manager of the blues said that Kalidou Koulibaly needs to improve his concentration by a lot. According to Rafael Benitez, Kalidou may be guilty of losing focus and being too confident, but he was very powerful at Napoli and people Rafa knows and trusts told him he was the best center back in Italy during that time.

This season will be the premier league for Koulibaly and he may be fine for how Thomas Tuchel wants to play. The Senegalese player has similarities to Antonio Rudiger – he is very good at running with the ball, he is good with both feet. “He’s too nice? We’ll see what happens at Chelsea,” said Rafael. As Rafa said, in Italy he was fine because he was so fast, but Benitez doubts he will be that dominant there.

Rafael Benitez says aerial ability wasn’t his biggest strength, but in Italy it mattered a little less and he was fine. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in the Premier League, but Kalidou Koulibaly has always been very eager to learn and spent time with Benitez and his staff after training to work on his rubric and improve his technique.


The Blues Interest in Kalidou Coulibaly

Despite concerns about some aspects of his game and the high price tag for a player over 30 who had never played in English football, the Blues were interested in bringing the Senegalese player to Stamford Bridge. Kalidou Koulibaly will be part of manager Tuchel’s rebuilt defense following the summer departures of Christensen and Ruediger. Koulibaly is experienced at the highest level of European club play, having made 26 Champions League appearances for Napoli since joining the club in 2014.

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