"Can be overconfident" - Rafa Benitez makes bold claims about Chelsea star


Former Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has given his thoughts on the club's new signing Kalidou Koulibaly. He also stated that the Senegalese could be overconfident at times. He added that the defender could find it difficult to adjust to the Premier League after playing in Serie A with Napoli since 2014.

Koulibaly, 31, joined Chelsea this summer from Napoli for €40 million on a four-year deal with a salary of €10 million per season. Speaking about the Senegal captain, Benitez told The Athletic (via Metro ):

"He must improve his concentration at times. He can be guilty of losing focus and can be overconfident, but he has been hugely influential at Napoli and people I know and trust have told me that he has been the best centre-back in Italy during this time."

"This season will be the Premier League for him and he could be fine for the way that Tuchel wants to play. He has similarities with Rudiger — he is very good at running with the ball, he’s good with both feet."

Benitez added that while Koulibaly was good in Serie A, he could find it tough to adjust to the Premier League especially due to perceived frailties in the air. He said:

"Is he a little bit too nice? We will I see what happens at Chelsea. As I said, in Italy he was fine because he was so quick, but I doubt he will be so dominant over here. Aerial ability wasn’t his biggest strength but in Italy that mattered a bit less and he was ok."

"It will be interesting to see how that develops in the Premier League but he was always very keen to learn. He spent time with me and my staff after training sessions to work on his heading and improving his technique."

Benitez managed Koulibaly during the former's two-year stint at Napoli and won the Coppa Italia in the 2013-14 season.

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