He’s barely kicked a ball for Chelsea and new signing Kalidou Koulibaly has already earned the respect of fans after he called club legend John Terry for permission to use his famous shirt number.
Check out the brilliant moment below.
The 31-year-old defender, who joined the Blues from Serie A side Napoli this summer for a fee in the region of £33 million, will wear the number 26 this season.
But before the shirt number was confirmed by the club, Koulibaly wanted to make sure it was okay with John Terry.
Terry, the most most successful captain in Chelsea’s history with 15 major honours, made a total of 717 appearances for the club whilst wearing the iconic 26.
In a car journey on July 15th, 2022, the Senegal international said the following in a phone call to the former England centre-back.
He began: “John I wanted to ask you something because like you know, I played with the 26 in Napoli and I see that, since you left the club, nobody has taken the 26.
“I don’t know if you retired it or if nobody wants to take it, but I wanted to ask you if it’s possible to take it.”
Image credit: Twitter/@kkoulibaly26Terry responded immediately. “Listen, the 26 was very special to me,” he said. “Yeah mate, I really appreciate you calling and it’s no problem for me for you to take it, absolute pleasure.
“I wish you well because I know how important the number was to me and I’ve obviously seen you wear 26 as well so, it’s my pleasure mate, I give you the 26.”
After a thankful Koulibaly said it would be a “heavy” shirt to play in, Terry replied: “No pressure mate, you’re gonna be winning trophies for us, okay?”
A touch of class from both men.
Back in 2019, former Chelsea captain Terry revealed he kept the number 26 throughout his career so fans wouldn’t have to buy another shirt.
“When I broke into the first team at Chelsea that was my number and I had seen some fans with my name and number on their shirts,” Terry wrote on Instagram.
“I didn’t want them paying out for another shirt.”
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has also commented on Koulibaly’s decision to take the famous shirt number.
“I think Kalidou will realise the importance of the shirt number even more over time,” he said. “Also that he will bring with him respect for that number, showing respect and worth.
The Italian also confirmed he previously held conversations with his former Napoli teammate over a move to Stamford Bridge.
“We always said as a joke: ‘Let’s play together again, let’s play together again.’ It never happened properly and when we saw that okay, maybe it’s not a joke anymore, we started to be more serious about it.
“I pushed! I was like come on, come to Chelsea. And he was like ah yeah I would like to. I said ‘just come’ because it has been a long time since we played together and shared a changing room or be together again.”