Kalidou Koulibaly reveals Chelsea legends Drogba and Zola warned him against Premier League


Kalidou Koulibaly reveals Chelsea club legends Didier Drogba and Gianfranco Zola warned him he would struggle to adapt to the Premier League as the £33million defender admits he struggled since he left Naples

  • Koulibaly has been a central part of Chelsea’s back line this season
  • He claims two Chelsea legends warned him of the norm in England
  • Ex-Blues Didier Drogba and Gianfranco Zola have contacted the centre-back
  • He said he expected the league to be difficult and revealed ‘it’s been like that’

Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly has revealed two Chelsea legends have warned he will struggle to adapt to the Premier League.

The Senegalese centre-half, who joined in the summer from Napoli, has been a key part of Chelsea’s squad under Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter this season.

He has since admitted he’s had ‘difficult times’ since joining and revealed which former Chelsea stars have been in contact to warn him of the high standards in England.

Kalidou Koulibaly has revealed two Chelsea legends warned he would struggle in England

Didier Drogba attends the 2022 Ballon d'Or awards ceremony

Gianfranco Zola spent seven seasons at Chelsea

The defender revealed Didier Drogba (L) and Gianfranco Zola said he would ‘find it hard’

Talk to Corriere della SeraKoulibaly said: ‘The beauty of football is also that, I come with a coach who wanted me at all costs and then he leaves.

“Tuchel and Potter both play with the three-man defence. At Napoli I used to play with a four-man back line. It’s another arrow that I put in my bow, we never stop learning.

“I knew I was going to have a hard time, and that’s how it is. Even Zola, Drogba foresaw it would be and told me.

Chelsea’s turbulent campaign saw Tuchel – the manager who initially identified Koulibaly as a target – being fired after three games of the season.

The defender insists he had a ‘difficult time’ but stats show he remained one of the Blues’ best performers and was quick to convince fans of his defensive abilities.

The team have kept four clean sheets in the eight Premier League games he has started and the 31-year-old even contributed with a goal against Spurs in August.

Koulibaly has helped Chelsea keep their sheets clean in half of their Premier League outings

Koulibaly has helped Chelsea keep their sheets clean in half of their Premier League outings

Expanding on his move from Napoli, he continued: “I believe in fate. My periods were over, I had given everything. From the point of view of emotions, this changes little. I feel every goal, every victory, as if I experienced them firsthand.

“Do you know what I’m talking about in the Chelsea dressing room?” Victories of my former teammates. And do you know why? I’m proud of it. I often hear Anguissa and Osimhen. I also exchanged messages with Kvara, whom I don’t know yet.

Chelsea fans will be delighted to hear that their centre-half has texted Napoli rising star Khvicha ‘Kvara’ Kvaratskhelia – who is one of the hottest talents in Europe.

Koulibaly claimed he was in contact with a number of former teammates like Victor Osihmen (L)

Koulibaly claimed he was in contact with a number of former teammates like Victor Osihmen (L)

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has become one of the most talked about prospects in Europe

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has become one of the most talked about prospects in Europe

Zola and Drogba will be well aware of the difficulties transitioning to the Premier League after doing the same in their respective careers.

Zola joined the Blues from Italian side Parma in 1996 and saw an immediate drop in his production in front of goal. He scored 49 goals in 102 games for the Serie A side but could only manage 59 goals in 229 appearances for Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Drogba scored just 10 goals in his debut season for the Blues compared to the 19 he netted for Marseille the season before.

Koulibaly has missed Chelsea’s last three games through injury, although Blues boss Potter has hinted he could be available for their clash with RB Salzburg tomorrow.

Gianfranco Zola scored 59 goals for Chelsea in seven seasons at the club

Gianfranco Zola scored 59 goals for Chelsea in seven seasons at the club

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