Diego Maradona: If Koulibaly were white he would be playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid

Diego Maradona: If Koulibaly were white he would be playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid

Diego Maradona claims that if Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly were white he would be playing for either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Maradona made the comments whilst praising his former club’s striker Gonzalo Higuain for scoring 30 league goals in 32 games this season despite Juventus picking up their fifth consecutive title after the Neapolitans lost to Roma on Monday.

The 55-year-old former Napoli, Barcelona, Sevilla and Boca Juniors star singled out the Senegalese defender, who he picked in his dream team back in March, for special praise.

“If he was white, he’d be playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona! He’s phenomenal!” Maradona told TV station PiuEnne.

Koulibaly, 24, joined Napoli in July 2014 from Belgian side KRC Genk for a fee of £5.25 million having spent two years in the senior side at Ligue 2 outfit FC Metz.

He has won the joint fourth highest amount of tackles in Serie A this campaign (62).

Per 90 minutes, the Senegalese international, who boasts 2.12 per 90, has won more tackles than Real Madrid centre-backs Sergio Ramos (1.13), Pepe (1.03), Raphael Varane (23) as well as Barcelona defenders Gerard Pique (32) and Javier Mascherano (52).

Koulibaly has won an impressive 88% of his take-ons (14/16) – the joint-second highest success rate of defenders to have attempted more than 14 –  after 30 Serie A appearances for Napoli this season.

Napoli’s 1-0 defeat to Roma on Monday sees them stay two points clear of Luciano Spalletti’s third place side with just three games remaining.

Napoli have conceded the second fewest goals in Serie A this season (30) – 12 more than Juventus.