S.S.C. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly has spoken out against the alleged racial abuse which he was subjected to during the club's 1-0 defeat against Inter on Boxing Day, the latest in a long line of incidents in Italian football over the last few years.
The 27-year-old was the star of the first half at San Siro, coming up with a goal-saving tackle to deny Inter captain Mauro Icardi a simple tap-in. Koulibaly, along with Napoli skipper Lorenzo Insigne, were both sent off during the game, either side of Lautaro Martínez's late winner for the Nerazzurri.
In the aftermath of the match, however, all the focus has rightly been on the abuse which Koulibaly was subject to throughout the game. The defender even came out to speak about the alleged racism on social media after the match.
"I am sorry about the loss and above all to have left my brothers [out on the pitch]," Koulibaly said on Twitter, referencing his sending off in the second half. "However I am proud of my skin colour. To be a French, Senegalese and Neapolitan man."
Sulley Muntari. Mario Balotelli. Kevin Prince Boateng. Kevin Constant. Kalidou Koulibaly.— Matthew Santangelo (@Matt_Santangelo) December 26, 2018
The list goes on and on, but these are just a few of the victims of racist behavior recently.
You should all be ashamed of yourselves for the way you handle this, @AIA_it @FIGC @SerieA.
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti asserted that the Partenopei would take matters into their own hands after having their complaints ignored during the game.
"There was a strange atmosphere, as we asked three times for play to be suspended, they had announcements with the speaker three times," Ancelotti said after his side's defeat, quoted by the Mirror.
"Koulibaly was certainly irritable. Usually, he is very calm and professional, but he was subjected to monkey noises throughout the game.
"We asked three times for some action to be taken, but the match continued. We keep being told play can be halted, but when? After four or five announcements? 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. It’s not good for Italian football, seeing this."