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28.05.2008 10:27

Keita: “Coming here is what I've always wanted”

David Puig

The Mali international has revealed that playing for Barça has already been one of his dreams. He describes himself as a hard working player and that he is looking forward to pulling on the Barça shirt: “I hope to give everything I’ve got".

The first Mali Player in Barça’s long history, a midfield reinforcement, the first signing of the season or a versatile player – these are just some of the characteristics of Seydou Keita. Keita, who has just been signed from Sevilla, said in an exclusive interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat that he had joined Barça “to help the team get good results”.

You’ve completed your move to FC Barcelona. How do you feel?

firma_keita_08cas.jpgI’m very happy. Signing for Barça is a dream come true. FC Barcelona is a big club for any player that wants to go a long way. We’d all like to play one day for Barcelona and I’m very pleased to join this great club and above all I hope to give everything I’ve got to help the team get good results”

Have you spoken to your new coach, Pep Guardiola?

“No, we haven’t had the chance to see each other yet but I’ve been able to talk to ‘Titi’ (Henry) and some other players. He’s starting a new project and I’m also new so I think we’ll get on well and everything will go fine”.

What can Keita bring to Barça?

“Everything. I’m a defensive midfielder and I hope to be able to help win back possession, to add work rate and also in attack, as I’ve done this year with Sevilla”.

It’s said that you’re the complete midfielder. What do you think are your main characteristics?

“Well I’m certainly a defensive midfielder and in that position I like to defend and help out my team-mates. But I’m also lucky enough to score the occasional goal, I’m pretty comfortable on the ball as I’ve played a bit in an attacking midfield role. But the most important thing for me is the desire to win and fight for the team. When there’s desire, everything is possible”.

The Barça style is more attacking and with more possession. Do you think you’ll adapt easily to this?

keita_tv_04.jpg“I think so because a team like Barça needs to have possession but it also needs to defend well and I think I can help the team a lot in this aspect. I’ve seen Barça play loads of matches. In addition, there’s Touré Yaya, who I know pretty well and who plays in midfield. I hope to give my all and help to defend well. As well as attacking you have to defend well and that’s why there has to be a balance. I hope to adapt rapidly to the system at FC Barcelona.”

You’re the first Mali player in Barça’s history. What do you think about that? Were you sure about signing for Barça?

“I’m very proud. I had other offers but I’ve wanted to come to Barcelona for some time and when I had the chance to join other teams I did everything possible to come here. In addition, Barça wanted me and that helped. It’s a club I’ve always liked”.

You’re a clear example of the blossoming of African football. Many African footballers are succeeding in the best teams in Europe. Could it be said that the future of football is in Africa?

“I hope so! It’s true that there have been African players in the big clubs for the last few years and that shows that African football has progressed a lot. We players have become aware of the qualities that we can bring to our teams. I hope this keeps on because African players always try and give our best in our respective teams”.

What did Barça mean to you when you were at Lens?

keita_08.jpg“For everybody, Barça is a great club, a team everyone wants to play for. I was lucky enough to come to Spain with Sevilla, which is also a great club, a club that gave me everything and helped me grow. Now I’m in Barcelona and I’m very happy but I’m very grateful to all the Sevilla directors and to the fans, who have always supported me. But in life you have to make choices. I’m sad to leave Sevilla, but at the same time I’m very happy to sign for Barcelona, because it’s an option that you can’t turn down even though you’ve had everything at Sevilla. The truth is I’m very happy to be here because it’s what I’ve always wanted”.

You’re already familiar with the Camp Nou. What do you think about it?

“I’ve played here but against Barça. It’s a very big stadium, with a lot of people, but when I was here it was as an opponent and it was very difficult. This time I’ll be wearing the Barça colours so it’ll be easier”.
Keita: “Coming here is what I've always wanted”
His new team-mates
Do you know any of your new team-mates?

“Yes. I know Abidal, Eto’o o and Touré Yaya well. I also met Xavi briefly, when we both played in the under-20 World Cup. I also know Ronaldinho and some of the other players a bit”.

As you say, you and Xavi played in the under-20 World Cup in 1999. You were chosen as the best player in the tournament. A lot has happened since then...

“Yes, a lot has happened since then. We lost against Spain in the semi-finals. I’ve known Xavi since then and we all know what a player he is. I’m very happy to sign for Barça, a team with great players and I hope to settle in quickly to progress as a team and get the results we all want”.

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