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Napoli's Koulibaly regrets gesture towards referee after racist chants against Inter Milan

14:43 GMT+3 28/01/2019
Koulibaly sent off Inter Napoli
The Senegalese centre-back was a victim of racist abuse at San Siro last year but was sent off for applauding the referee in the closing stages

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly recalled his racism experience against Inter Milan and has admitted his inappropriate behaviour to the referee.

The 27-year-old was racially abused during a Serie A tie against Inter Milan in December which led to several football icons including African stars send support messages to him and the Nerazzurri were consequently punished to play two home games behind closed doors.

During the encounter, the rock-solid defender was shown two yellow cards for a foul on Politano and for sarcastically applauding the referee after he was cautioned for his tackle.

After serving a two-game ban for his dismissal, Koulibaly returned to San Siro on Saturday for Napoli's goalless draw against AC Milan and he has revised how events turned out in his last outing on the ground.

"It's hard to talk about it, it's sad to see racism like that in 2019," Koulibaly told Canal Football Club.

"During the match, I understood that there were racist songs against me, and I farted the shots against the referee. It's something that I really regret because it's not something to do.

"I am a professional player and many people take me as an example. I made an inappropriate move to the referee and I apologise.

"There are some stupid people who made these cries... But behind there are also good people who sent me messages. So I really think about these people, who support me, and not those fools who made me piss off."

At the end of the encounter, the defender who was sent for an early shower recalled the two players who condemned his actions towards the match official.

"I was very angry, I was expelled and I left my team. The first words were those of Mertens and Faouzi (Ghoulam) who told me I agree there were shouts of monkeys, but you must be above that, you're wrong," he continued.

"Their words kicked me in the face because they were right. I gave reasons to those who made these songs. If this was to happen again, I will have another reaction, remain impassive or even go talk to the referee."

Koulibaly's future at the Stadio San Paolo has been subject of speculations with European heavyweights like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United reportedly interested in his services.

Aware of the transfer links, the France-born defender who made his international debut for Senegal back in 2015 is keen on making a statement for African football on the global stage.

"Today, it is rare to see African internationals playing in the best clubs, I want to show everyone that you can be African and play in the best clubs in the world, be among the best players in the world," he added.

"For me, it's a source of motivation, it pushes me to go forward, to show others that we are equal."