Chelsea’s new star Kalidou Koulibaly grew up with STONES for goalposts aged eight, but now he’s the rock of the Blues defence


KALIDOU KOULIBALY, the new rock of Chelsea’s defence, grew up playing with stones for goalposts.

Childhood friend Mohamodou Ndiaye has happy memories of their makeshift pitch in Saint-Die, an industrial town in north east France.

Ndiaye said: “Kalidou and I have known each other since we were five or so.

“We always used to play football after school on concrete. If you fell over, it hurt but after a while you got used to it.

“Behind his house we created a pitch with big stones to make the goals.

“Later Kalidou was the class representative at school. He made a request to have proper goals on the playground and we got them.”

Kalidou Koulibaly quickly stood out when he joined the youth section of SR Saint-Die.

Coach Philippe Pissot, who first came across the youngster when he was eight, said: “He was the boss of the defence, even at that age, and of the whole team.

“All the decisions he took were the right ones. And he had that air, that authority in his tackling.

“When I watch him on the TV now, I recognise the same qualities.”

Pissot’s day job was as a teacher at Ecole Vincent Auriol, the primary school at the heart of the Kellermann district, a working-class area with a large immigrant population.

Ndiaye said: “Our dads were factory workers.

“People of several different origins lived side by side, and they were warm and open-minded.

“We had friends or acquaintances whose background was Portuguese, Turkish, Algerian, Moroccan, Mauritanian.

“Our Senegalese community was well represented, we all spoke the same ‘peulh’ dialect and were like one big family.”

The boys were in Pissot’s class for their final year of primary school.

In the summer term of 2002, France went to the Far East to defend the World Cup won on home soil and were stunned in their opening game by a certain West African country.

Pissot said: “The match between France and Senegal was in the morning, French time, while we were at school.

“At the back of the classroom was a TV that we used to show documentaries.

Kalidou and Mohamodou were particularly happy when I said we were going to watch the game.

“I told Kalidou: ‘France 5 Senegal 0.’ But Senegal won 1-0 and they loved it.”

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