Kalidou Koulibaly is a professional footballer who plays as centre back for the Senegal national team. Koulibaly began his professional club career with French team Metz in 2010, before moving to Belgian club Genk in 2012. He joined Italian team Napoli in 2014. 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. He was named to the side that represented Senegal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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Koulibaly joined Belgian club Genk on 29 June 2012 after agreeing a four-year contract. Among interested was Anderlecht but Genk won the race to sign him. On 23 August 2012, Koulibaly made his Genk debut in a UEFA Europa League play-off qualifying round, in which they were defeated by Swiss team Luzern 2–1 in the first leg of two. Since joining the club, he became a first team regular for the side, playing mostly in the centre–back position. In a match against OH Leuven on 25 November 2012, Koulibaly made a foul in the penalty box at the last minute of the game, which was successfully converted by Ibou, as Genk drew 1–1. 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, to make amends for his mistake. He later helped Genk win the 2012–13 Belgian Cup after starting the whole game to beat Cercle Brugge. At the end of the 2012–13 season, Koulibaly went on to make forty–six appearances and scoring once in all competitions. The 2013–14 season saw Koulibaly began playing in the centre–back position, where he continued to form a partnership with Kara Mbodji. He then scored two goals in two matches between 6 October 2013 and 19 October 2013. Koulibaly started in every matches since the start of the season until he suffered a knee injury during a 2–0 loss against Lokeren on 8 December 2013. A month later on 19 January 2014, Koulibaly returned to the starting lineup from injury, starting the whole game, in a 1–0 loss against Zulte Waregem. Koulibaly continued to regain his place in the first team for the rest of the season. However, he missed the remaining three league matches of the season, due to his imminent transfer move to Napoli. Despite this, Koulibaly went on to make forty–six appearances and scoring two times in all competitions.
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A large, aggressive, quick, and physically strong yet elegant player, Koulibaly is recognised for his aerial prowess, anticipation, positioning, tackling, character, technique, and passing ability as a defender. He has also been praised by pundits for his overall solidity as a player, and his ability to make interceptions; however, he has also drawn criticism for giving away too many fouls. Due to his versatility, he can play both in his usual role 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. During his time at Napoli, his ability to play the ball out from the back saw him function as a ball-playing centre-back in manager Maurizio Sarri’s attacking, possession based-system. Currently considered to be one of the best and most complete defenders in world football in the media, his ability, playing style, tall stature, and imposing physique have earned him the nicknames “K2” and The Wall from his fans.