The younger brother of Bonaventure Kalou, like many of his colleagues Salomon began his playing days with ASEC Mimosas after gaining his grounding in the game at the Jean-Marc Guillou Academy. He nonetheless left for Europe sooner than most and wasted little time in carving out a successful career for himself. Now a fixture in the Elephants line-up, he has emerged as one of the team’s leaders going forward, alongside his mentor and club-mate Didier Drogba. He confirmed his new standing by making eight appearances and scoring two goals during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers.
Auxerre coach Guy Roux made an offer for Salomon in the summer of 2003, dreaming of partnering him with Bonaventure. However, like his elder sibling and inspiration, the youngster opted to leave ASEC for the Netherlands, spending a season at Excelsior Rotterdam before earning promotion to Feyenoord, the club where his brother experienced his greatest success in the Eredivisie. The newcomer also excelled, registering 35 goals in his two campaigns and earning himself the Johan Cruyff Award in 2005 as the most promising young player of the year.
Having become a star in the Netherlands, Salomon’s progress did not go unnoticed by the biggest outfits on the continent, and it was then English champions Chelsea who secured his services in May 2006. He was still only 21, but Kalou quickly settled in the prosperous London club’s star-studded squad, contesting 33 Premier League games and 11 UEFA Champions League fixtures in 2006/07. He remained consistent too, firing seven goals in each of his first three championship seasons, before that figure dropped under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009/10.
After finally celebrating his maiden Premier League crown with Chelsea this term, Kalou was in the starting line-up as the Blues clinched their first ever double on 15 May, adding that FA Cup success to his wins in 2007 and 2009. The 2008 UEFA Champions League final loss to Manchester United was a bitter blow, on the other hand, but an epic showing in South Africa could more than make up for that disappointment.