John Terry gave his blessings to Kalidou Koulibaly, asking him to wear the number 26 jersey and win trophies.
There is video footage of Kalidou Koulibaly making rounds in the sporting world. In the video, Koulibaly was recorded calling Chelsea ex-captain and defensive legend, John Terry, to get his approval before he dons the iconic number 26 jersey worn by Terry during his playing days at Chelsea.
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John Terry approves for Koulibaly to take the number 26 jersey
Kalidou Koulibaly, who joined the London Blues from Italian outfit SSC Napoli last month for a deal worth £34 million, wore number 26 while at Napoli; and, on signing for Chelsea, decided to retain it in England as well. John Terry, on his part, wore the number 26 jersey for his entire first team spell at Chelsea, captaining them and winning 14 major titles, becoming the club’s most successful captain. This means that Kalidou Koulibaly would have big boots to fill if he wears the number 26 jersey, as fans would expect him to replicate the performances of the Chelsea captain.
The captain of the Senegalese National Team, Kalidou Koulibaly, knows the importance and weight the number 26 jersey has in the hearts of the Chelsea Faithful, and has decided to call his predecessor for his approval and blessings, before the season starts, so that he can play in the shirt knowing that the legend behind the shirt is backing him.
Kalidou Koulibaly was recorded in the video saying,
John, I had a question for you because, as you are probably aware, I used to play for Napoli while wearing jersey number 26, and I’ve noticed that, ever since you left the club, nobody has worn number 26. I’m not sure if you retired it or if nobody is interested in taking it, but I wanted to ask you if it’s still possible (for me) to sign up for it.
Terry then answered,
Listen, I think the number 26 is very important. I’m really glad you called. Absolute pleasure (from me). I’ll give you the 26. It’s my pleasure, mate. I hope everything works out for you because I remember how important the number 26 was to me and I’ve noticed that you also wear it.
Remember that Terry said in 2019 that he had retained the shirt number while at Chelsea so that fans wouldn’t have to buy any new jersey of his in a new season? This certainly means the jersey bore some importance, and he is worthy of his status as a legend, given his care and love for the fans.
Jorginho’s take on former Napoli teammate, Kalidou Koulibaly
Koulibaly has also been tipped to perform well by fellow players and pundits, including former Napoli and current Chelsea teammate, Jorginho. The Brazilian midfielder has commented on Kalidou Koulibaly’s retention of the number 26 at Chelsea in an interview, stating that ‘he’ll realize the importance of the shirt, while sharing a joke they once made about playing together again after their time at Naples—a dream which has now come true.
In the interview, he said,
I think Kalidou will eventually learn more about what the shirt number means. I also know that by bringing that number with him, he will show that he values and cares about it. We used to tease each other by saying, “Let’s play together again, let’s play together,” whenever we got together to have fun. Since the problem was never solved to our satisfaction, we started to take our worries about it more seriously when we realized we probably shouldn’t be laughing about it anymore. I used pressure! I begged him to hurry up and come to Chelsea. I asked him if he would like to, and he said, “Yeah, I would like to.” I begged him to just come because it’s been so long since we played together, changed in the same room, or were in the same place at the same time.
Kalidou Koulibaly would be an asset to Chelsea in the coming season, as he would try to bring in his own class at the back, helping them defend against all opposition, just like at Napoli. In other news relating to Chelsea, reports state that the Blues are edging closer to reaching a deal for Brighton fullback Marc Cucurella, as they hope to reinforce their left-back options ahead of the new season.