The Senegal international had been preparing in a video analysis session ahead of a match against Sassuolo when his wife called him
Kalidou Koulibaly has revealed Maurizio Sarri once dragged him from his wife’s bedside during the birth of his first son, just to put him on the Napoli bench.
The Senegal international had been preparing in a video analysis session ahead of a match against Sassuolo when his wife called him.
He told the Players’ Tribune: “Sarri looks at me and says, “No, no, no. I need you tonight, Kouli. I really need you. You can’t go.”
“I say, “This is the birth of my son, Mister. You can do whatever you want to me. Fine me, suspend me, I don’t care. I am going.”
“Sarri looks so stressed, and he is smoking his cigarette. Smoking, smoking, thinking … then finally he says, “O.K., O.K., you can go to the clinic. But you have to be back for the match tonight. I need you, Kouli!””
The powerhouse defender then dashed across Naples in time for the birth of his first son, Seni.
But within a couple of hours, Sarri, desperate for his centre-half to get back in time in time for Napoli’s pre-match build-up, phoned him to return for the match.
Unwilling to let his team-mates down, Koulibaly returned to Stadio San Paolo to ready himself for the game.
Initially reluctant to answer because of the ‘very intense’ Sarri,, Koulibaly eventually took the call and was told his wife Charline was going into labour.
“I am getting ready to play, and Sarri comes into the dressing room and puts up the team sheet. And I am looking… looking… looking,” he continued.
“My number is not there. I said, “Mister! Are you kidding me?”
“He said, “What? It is my choice.”
“I said, “Mister! My son! My wife! I left them! You said you needed me!”
“He said, “Yes, we need you on the bench.””
Sarri’s persistence seemed to pay off as despite going 1-0 down within three minutes of the game, his side eventually turned things round to win 3-1.
Koulibaly came on for the final 22 minutes of the game as Sarri looked to close things out.