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Kalidou Koulibaly Confirms Chelsea Shirt Number Following £34 Million Transfer

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Kalidou Koulibaly Confirms Chelsea Shirt Number Following £34 Million Transfer

Kalidou Koulibaly has confirmed he will wear the no.26 shirt at Chelsea after signing from Napoli this summer.

The 31-year-old signed for Chelsea last month on a five-year contract for £34 million after Thomas Tuchel's side agreed a deal with Napoli.

He has already made his first Blues appearances, albeit during pre-season, and could make his official debut this weekend against Everton in their Premier League opener at Goodison Park.

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He wore the no.26 shirt for Chelsea during pre-season, but the club confirmed that wasn't officially his new number.

However, the central defender has now confirmed he will take John Terry's former number after being given the seal of approval by the former Blues skipper.

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Koulibaly recorded a conversation in a car he had with Terry over the phone last month, to which he asked for his blessing to take the iconic number at Stamford Bridge.

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He said: "Sorry for my English, it's not so good, but I will try to do my best.

"John, I wanted to ask you something because, like you know, I played with the 26 in Napoli, and since you left the club, nobody take the 26. I did not know if you retired it or if nobody wanted to take it, so I wanted to ask you if it is possible for me to take it?"

John replied: "The 26 is very special to me. I really appreciate you calling, and it's not a problem for me for you to take it. It's an absolute pleasure and I wish you well because I know how important the number was for me and seeing your 26 as well, so it's my pleasure mate. I give you the 26."

Koulibaly responded: "Thank you, thank you very much. It's a pleasure. It's a heavy shirt but I will try to do my best!"

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Terry added: "No pressure mate, you've got to keep winning trophies."

"Of course!" Koulibaly quickly said in response.

Chelsea are yet to confirm the final squad numbers for the season, with Raheem Sterling wearing the no.17 during pre-season.

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He is likely to take the number ahead of Saturday's opener against Everton, while other numbers are still to be confirmed.

Koulibaly's move to Stamford Bridge was a long time coming following interest which dated back to 2016.

He said last month: "I’m very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea. It’s a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League. Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn’t make it. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them. When I spoke to my good friends Edou and Jorginho they made my choice easier so I’m really happy to be with you today.

"I want to thank the fans because I saw a lot of them in London and on the plane everybody was happy for me to be here. So I want to thank them and I hope the season will be really good and we will give some good moments to the fans."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea

Matthew Debono
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