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‘Ivorians are asserting themselves in Italy’ – Fiorentina’s Kouame

11:01 AM EDT 7/19/20
Kouame - Fiorentina
Players from the West African countries have made their mark in the Italian top-flight in recent times

Fiorentina forward Christian Kouame has agreed to the growing influence of Ivory Coast players in the Serie A.

The 22-year-old is among a list of players from the West African country who have turned out to be key figures for their club sides.

Franck Kessie has been ever-present for AC Milan this season, scoring in three of their last four games as they push for Europa League qualification.

Sassuolo and ex-Chelsea winger Jeremie Boga is another Ivorian lighting up the top-flight as the player with the most successful dribbles in the competition, something he also achieved last season.

Former Arsenal wide man Gervinho is the most experienced Ivorian of all, playing a key role for Parma who have returned to the Serie A since 2018 after an initial four-year absence due to financial troubles.

Kouame himself – who is on loan from Genoa, is highly-rated and has just recently returned into the fold having been out with an Acute Cruciate Ligament injury since November 2019, while on international duty.

Kouame and Boga have been capped just once for the Ivory Coast national team while Gervinho has 84 caps, appearing at two World Cups (2010 and 2014) as well as four Africa Cup of Nations (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015), winning the latter in Equatorial Guinea.

Kessie meanwhile has played 40 times for the Elephants since his debut in 2014.

"Our movement is producing many talents and in Italy we are asserting ourselves,” Kouame told Tuttosport.

“We hope to do great things for the national team."

Kouame also described former Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery who joined Fiorentina last summer on a free transfer, as a “phenomenon”. The 37-year-old Frenchman has played 18 times for the Viola this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists.

"Franck is fantastic, especially with us young people he is always generous with advice,” Kouame continued.

“He is an example with his behaviours, he is a phenomenon, he has won everything yet he still wants, he always trains to the maximum, he has an exceptional charisma.”

Fiorentina are currently 13th in the Serie A, 10 points clear of the relegation. They come up against Torino on Sunday and Kouame – who scored against them while with his parent club Genoa in the first half of season, does not see it as an easy game especially with the presence of Manchester United-linked striker Andrea Belotti who has 22 goals to his name in all competitions this season

"Torino a very good team. A difficult race awaits us but we want to win and we will do everything,” Kouame stated.

"We are talking about a great champion [Belotti], with many qualities that I really appreciate, starting with his sense of goal.”