ROME (AP) — A mountain of a man, Kalidou Koulibaly has a fitting nickname in “K2.”
At 6-foot-4 (1.95 meters) and nearly 200 pounds (90 kilograms), the Senegal center back is an immovable force in Napoli’s defense.
He’s also been bold enough to soldier on through a trying season marred by acts of racism in his direction.
In December — on the day after Christmas — Milan’s venerable San Siro was the site when Inter Milan fans directed monkey noises at Koulibaly throughout a Serie A match.
Then there was a racist Snapchat video posted by an Arsenal fan during last week’s first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals, when Koulibaly’s own-goal contributed to a 2-0 win by the London club.
A clearly angered Koulibaly responded by scoring twice in Napoli’s 3-1 win at Chievo Verona on Sunday for his first goals this season in 42 matches in all competitions. It was also the first two-goal performance of Koulibaly’s career.
Now Koulibaly has his sights on overturning the 2-0 deficit to Arsenal in Thursday’s return leg at the San Paolo Stadium.
“We know what we did wrong and that we’re going to have to…