'We are all Koulibaly' – Napoli fans wear masks in support of racially abused defender
Posted On March 22, 2019
The club’s followers how solidarity with the Senegal international after he was subjected to taunts during the club’s defeat to Inter
Napoli have shown support for Kalidou Koulibaly by wearing masks during Saturday’s clash with Bologna after he was subjected to discriminatory abuse.
The 27-year-old, born in France to Senegalese parents, was allegedly subjected to monkey chants throughout his side’s 1-0 loss to Inter in midweek.
Koulibaly was sent off in the game, as he was first booked for a foul and then given a second yellow card for sarcastically applauding the referee.
His manager, Carlo Ancelotti, defended his centre-back afterwards, however, insisting that the club asked for the game to be suspended three times due to the abuse aimed at Koulibaly, leading to announcements over the PA system.
Inter will now play two home league games behind closed doors as punishment , though they have yet to decide whether to launch an appeal.
The Italian also made it clear that he would have no hesitation in telling his team to abandon a match if it were to happen again.
“Maybe we have to take matters into our own hands next time and stop play ourselves. They’ll probably make us lose the game if we walk off, but we are prepared to do it,” he said.
And fans have now shown their solidarity with Koulibaly, with a supporters group handing out masks with Koulibaly’s face on, as well as t-shirts bearing his name.
Posters with the message’ siamo tutti Koulibaly’ – which tranlates to ‘we are all Koulibaly’ – were also visible at the Stadio San Paolo.
Koulibaly’s team-mate Faouzi Ghoulam showed his support through Twitter prior to the game, posting a picture of himself wearing the mask, along with the message: “It does not matter the colour of skin. It does not matter religion. It does not matter which team you cheer for.
“Football, like all sports, is a game. And all the games are passion. Fun, freedom and in freedom we are all the same. Tomorrow we will all be Koulibaly!”
Supporters previously donned Koulibaly masks in 2016 after Lazio fans subjected the defender to racial abuse. The chants led to the game being stopped for three minutes in the second half.