Napoli fans to don Koulibaly masks in support of racially-abused defender
Fans of Italian club Napoli will masks with the face of defender Kalidou Koulibaly for their team’s game against Bologna on Saturday in a show of support after the player was racially abused.
Senegal international Koulibaly was subjected to sickening racial insults including monkey chants when he turned out for Napoli against Inter Milan in the Italian capital earlier in the week.
Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti revealed that members of his staff had repeatedly asked for the game to be suspended due to the slurs directed at Koulibaly, who was sent off during his team’s 1-0 defeat.
Inter have since been ordered to play two home games at an empty San Siro stadium in punishment for the abuse, although Koulibaly’s own two-match suspension will stand.
After the abuse the football world united in support of the 27-year-old central defender, with big names such as Cristiano and Mohamed Salah showing their solidarity.Also on rt.com 'Don’t react to this bullsh*t!': Football world unites over Koulibaly monkey chants
That will now extend to Napoli fans, a group of whom reportedly plan to hand out Koulibaly masks and T-shirts for the team’s home fixture against Bologna on Saturday.
Teammate Faouzi Ghoulam showed off the mask in a message of support posted ahead of the game, along with the hashtag #SiamoTuttiKoulibaly, which translates as We Are All Koulibaly.
Non importa il colore della pelle.Non importa la religione.Non importa per quale squadra fai il tifo. Il calcio, come tutti gli sport, é un gioco. E tutti i giochi sono passione, divertimento, libertà: e nella libertà siamo tutti uguali! Domani saremo tutti Koulibaly! pic.twitter.com/qrZrNZ9Ypn— ghoulam faouzi (@GhoulamFaouzi) December 28, 2018
“It doesn't matter the color of the skin. It doesn't matter the religion. It doesn't matter what team you're rooting for.
"Football, like all sports, is a game. And all the games are passion, fun, freedom: And in freedom we are all alike! Tomorrow we will all be Koulibaly!” the player wrote.
Koulibaly himself responded to the abuse by saying he was proud of his skin color and heritage.
Napoli boss Ancelotti has threatened to take his team off the pitch if a similar situation appears in future.