Kalidou Koulibaly (born 20 June 1991) is a Senegalese footballer who plays as defender for Serie A club Napoli and the Senegal national football team, usually as a centre-back. A large, quick and physically strong yet elegant player, he is recognised for his aerial prowess, anticipation, passing ability and versatility, as he can play both as a central defender, or as a full-back on either the right or left flank, in both a three or four-man defence; he has even been deployed as a defensive midfielder. His playing style has earned him the nicknames K2 and The Wall from his fans.
Koulibaly began his professional club career with French side Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgian club Genk in 2012. He joined Italian side Napoli in 2014, where he soon established himself as one of the best defenders in Italy.
As Koulibaly was born in France to Senegalese parents, he was eligible to represent both nations at international level, and initially played for the France national under-20 football team. He later made his senior debut with Senegal in 2015, and was a member of the Senegal squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Koulibaly was born on 20 June 1991, to Senegalese parents in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France. His footballing career began with local club SR Saint-Dié.
Koulibaly began his career playing for his hometown club SR Saint-Dié's youth team, and spent two seasons playing on the club's senior team in the Championnat de France amateur 2, before joining the youth academy of professional club Metz on 1 July 2009. While at Metz, Koulibaly helped the club's under-19 team win the 2009–10 Coupe Gambardella after the team defeated Sochaux 5–4 on penalties in the final. He also played on the club's amateur team in the Championnat de France amateur appearing in 15 matches as Metz were crowned champions of the league finishing with 107 points.
Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season, Koulibaly signed his first professional contract agreeing to a one-year deal. He was, subsequently, promoted to the senior team by new manager Dominique Bijotat. Koulibaly made his professional debut on 20 August 2010 in a league match against Vannes. He appeared as a substitute in a 1–0 victory.
On 29 June 2012, Koulibaly joined Belgian club Racing Genk after agreeing to a four-year deal. On 23 August 2012, Koulibaly made his Racing Genk debut in a UEFA Europa League play-off qualifying round, in which they were defeated by Swiss side Luzern 2–1 in the first leg of two. On 23 December 2012, Koulibaly scored his first Racing Genk goal in a 4–2 home defeat to Anderlecht, in which he scored a free header from a corner.
On 2 July 2014, Koulibaly joined Serie A side S.S.C. Napoli on a five-year deal, for a fee around the margin of £6.5 million. Koulibaly was given the number 26 upon arrival.
On 19 August 2014, Koulibaly made his debut in a UEFA Champions League play-off round qualifier, in which Napoli drew 1–1 with Athletic Bilbao. Napoli went on to lose the second leg 3–1, therefore sending them out of the competition. On 24 September 2014, almost a month later after making his Napoli debut, Koulibaly scored his first goal for the Italian side in a 3–3 draw with Palermo, in which he nodded home a header from an inviting ball in.
Kalidou Koulibaly was born and raised in France by Senegalese parents, and was therefore eligible for both nations. He played for the U-20 French side starting in 2011. However, in early September 2015, Koulibaly changed federations and joined the Senegal national football team, despite the interest to call him for Les Bleus from Didier Deschamps. He made his debut on 5 September 2015 in an AFCON qualifier against Namibia in a 2–0 victory. He was a member of the Senegal squad that took part at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.As of match played 20 May 2017.
Belgian Cup: 2012–13
Supercoppa Italiana: 2014
CAF Team of the Year: 2016
Serie A Team of the Year: 2016