Keita shows his commitment
David Saura (special correspondent)
With Pep Guardiola desperately short of players from next Monday, Keita brought the boss some welcome good news when he announced he’d agreed with the Mali coach to miss his country’s international game next week.
Guardiola is going to have to prepare for next weekend’s Spanish Super Cup with a skeleton
squad, but at least he can count on his African midfielder, who revealed: “I spoke with the
coach and I said I’d be staying in Barcelona when we return from China, because going to play
in Marseilles next week would be too much”.
Nine players available
with Keita’s presence confirmed, Guardiola will have just 9 first team players to start the
week’s preparations for the first trophy of the season - Pinto, Milito, Maxwell, Abidal,
Adriano, Víctor Sánchez, Keita, Iniesta and Martin Cáceres, with these last two arriving back from
holiday on Monday.
“I hope they don’t come back injured”
The massive call up of internationals before some of them have even been able to start
pre-season training, is as baffling to Keita as to most of the Barca party in China and he echoed
many a worry when he commented: “I just hope they don’t come back injured”. Even
without the missing players though, Keita stressed Barca would go into the game with a positive
attitude: “we’ll try and beat Seville. I’d have preferred that all my team mates
were available of course and it won’t be easy, but we’ll be going out looking for a
With Touré transferred to Manchester City and Sergio Busquets still not
back in training, Keita looks likely to take over as defensive midfielder: “if that’s
where the boss wants me to play, there’s no problem. I’ve played there in a friendly
and I did that job last season at times”. He also admitted though, that playing further back
meant his goal scoring chances (he bagged six goals last season) would be limited: “when I
play as an inside forward, I can get into the box more easily and score goals”.
Keita is also unfazed at the tremendous media circus surrounding Leo
Messi in China: “it happens all year round. He’s the best player in the world and for
us, all the attention is normal”.