Napoli football club’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis has declared that he will never again sign an African player ‘unless they sign an agreement backing out of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
This will not come as good news for players like Victor Osimhen from Nigeria and Andre Zambo Anguissa from Cameroon.
Earlier this year, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who recently joined Chelsea, appeared at this year’s AFCON alongside Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa.
The pair missed a number of Napoli games when they were away on international duty between January and February.
Months later, De Laurentiis appeared on a live stream with Wall Street Italia when he gave his views on African players featuring at the biennial tournament.
“I told them lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” said De Laurentiis during a streamed event.
“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!
“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”
De Laurentiis also revealed he had received an offer in 2017-18 from American investors ready to pay $900m to buy Napoli, but he turned it down.
“In recent years these investment funds have become fashionable, they have to guarantee their investors a certain revenue within five years.
“They saw that football is a great opportunity and they can double their investment by selling clubs to investment funds in future. That’s what Milan and Inter have done, right?
“I am assailed by funds, I can’t take it anymore. In 2017-18, an American fund offered me $900m to sell Napoli. But they don’t realise I am this pure entrepreneur who enjoys playing the game, so let me keep playing.”
Story by Football Italia