S.S.C. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis caused plenty of controversy on Wednesday in comments to Wall Street Italia, stating that he will not consider signing African players unless they agree to avoid playing at the Africa Cup of Nations. Africa’s showpiece national team competition takes place in January and February during a busy period in European club football and the extended absence of key players is an issue that continues to aggravate club managers and decision makers like de Laurentiis.
Napoli currently employs three players who represent African national teams including Nigeria star Victor Osimhen and Cameroon national team midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, and was also the last club of new Chelsea FC signing Kalidou Koulibaly. While also criticizing the increase in fixtures for European clubs with the future expanded format of the UEFA Champions League, de Laurentiis expressed his admiration for African players but from now on will require the signature of a waiver from African players or South American national team players before he signs them.