‘I can’t deny it’: Chelsea star admits that he left Stamford Bridge for the money

Frank Lampard takes charge of his first training session with Chelsea squad (photos)

Chelsea star Kalidou Koulibaly has opened up on his move to Saudi Arabia, acknowledging that he took the pay cheque as much as anything


Chelsea star Kalidou Koulibaly has spoken about his move to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal – and the financial incentives for going.



The Senegalese defender only joined the Blues last summer from Napoli, inheriting John Terry’s iconic No.26 shirt. But after in a poor season in which Chelsea found themselves shipping goals and scoring precious few, Benoit Badiashile joined halfway through, seemingly as Koulibaly’s replacement.

Now, Koulibaly has spoken about his exit from English football, speaking openly about his situation in west London and admitting that yes, part of the motivation to move was to set his family up financially.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter with Kalidou Koulibaly after the Blues' 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League.
Kalidou Koulibaly had a tough season in the Premier League

“I can’t deny it,” Koulibaly said, addressing the elephant in the room. “I will be able to help my whole family to live well, from my parents to my cousins, and support the activities of my Capitaine du Coeur association in Senegal.



“We started building a clinic in my parents’ village. I have many projects to help young people. I don’t like being on the bench doing nothing. I prefer to go where I am really wanted.”

As well as the financial aspect of the transfer, Koulibaly added, “I am a Muslim, I am arriving in an ideal country for me and my family,” of Saudi Arabia.

The 32-year-old is far from the only Chelsea star to be linked with moves to the Middle East either, with Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy and N’Golo Kante all moving to the Gulf State this summer.

N'Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante is one of the highest-profile Chelsea departures this summer

Koulibaly leaves Chelsea having made 32 appearances in all competitions, while his former club Napoli lifted a first Scudetto in three decades in his absence.

Chelsea received a reported £20 million for the player’s services.

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