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PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

The first signing of the Guardiola era has bid farewell to the Club as the coach also steps aside. The two have always had a strong bond and Guardiola once said of him “whilst I am coach, there will always be a place for Keita in my squad” and as the Catalan coach bows out, his Mali midfielder is following suit.

“I’ve known few people with his humanity”

Keita’s humility and solidarity have won him many friends at the Club and his exemplary behaviour during his four years under Guardiola, when he was frequently sat on the bench, but never complained at all, earned him his coach’s praise a few months ago when he declared: “he’s a moral and ethical yardstick for me. I’ve known few other people with his humanity”.

The 2009 Champions League Final was a great example of Keita’s attitude when he advised Guardiola not to play him at left back, as he felt there were better players available in the squad. The Mali man ended up playing the last 20 minutes, but his desire for the best for the team, over and above any personal glory was a perfect example of his humility and commitment to the collective.

Hard working and quiet

Seydou Keita has never been a big star and he has always been clear about his role in the team with his quiet hard working attitude as sometimes first choice, sometimes on as a sub and sometimes unused, but he always came up trumps when he was called on. His physical presence was always important, as was his technical skill and ability to get up into attack.

188 games, 22 goals

Keita leaves the Club after playing 188 games (119 in La Lliga, 41 in the Champions League, 18 in the Spanish Cup, 6 in the Spanish Super Cup, 2 in the European Super Cup and 2 in the World Club Cup), scoring 22 goals (16 in La Lliga, 3 in the Champions League, 2 in the Spanish Cup and 1 in the World Club Cup). He scored a hat trick against Zaragoza on October 25 2009 and the goal in the 1.1 draw against Levante on May 11th 2011, which gave the team the League title.

Keita will leave with the thanks and respect of the Barça fans, as well as a host of winners medals - three La Lliga titles, two Champions Leagues, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, 2 European Super Cups and 2 World Club Cups.

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