Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis won’t sign African players unless they agree waiver

Aurelio De Laurentiis wants African players to sign a waiver to not play in the AFCON

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Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis insists he will refuse to sign African players unless a waiver is signed to ensure they do not take part in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Azzurri lost Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who has since joined Premier League side Chelsea, and Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa for several matches last season while they competed in the AFCON throughout January and February – a competition Koulibaly won with the Lions of Teranga.

“Or they sign a waiver giving up their right to participate to the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments or between AFCON and the championships in South America,” De Laurentiis told Smart Talk on Wall Street Italia. “I never have them (Napoli players) available.”

Despite the 73-year-old’s frustration, Napoli went unbeaten in five Serie A matches last season without their vice-captain Koulibaly, drawing at Juventus before winning four successive matches, with another draw against Inter upon his return from the AFCON.

He criticised the fact that clubs were agreeing to more and more games, suggesting a European tournament with the top clubs from the strongest five countries instead of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

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“The world of football cannot self manage because we do the puppet show for others … if we could play 100 games, it would be a happy ending for everyone and we (clubs) like cretins agree to that.”

Kalidou Koulibaly missed games for Napoli while playing for Senegal at the AFCON

The Italian film producer also said he did not support the breakaway European Super League which folded less than 48 hours after it was announced last year as it was an elite club.

“You cannot create a super club of privileged members who invite others (to the league). You need to democratically keep the door open for everyone,” he said.

The Italian film producer added he was tired of offers from investment funds for the club, adding that he was offered 900 million euros around four to five years ago by American investors.

“You (bidders) did not understand a thing (about me). I am a pure entrepreneur who enjoys doing business … let me play,” he said.

“I want to be the 12th player on the pitch. Actually the 12th player is the fan, I can be the 13th or even the 14th, as 14 is my favourite number.”

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