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Seydou Keita in a recent friendly for Roma / ASROMA.IT

One of the many attractions of the 50th Joan Gamper Trophy will be the return of Seydou Keita to the Camp Nou, where he starred under Pep Guardiola from 2008 to 2012. After that he had spells at Dalian Aerbin in the Chinese Super League and then at Valencia, and the 35-year-old Malian is now about to start his second season at AS Roma, FC Barcelona's guests on August 5.

In an interview with www.fcbarcelona.com, he looks back at a hugely successful period in the Catalan capital.

How is the Italian experience going for you?
“Very well. Last year we had a good season, we came second in the league, although I have to say the second half of the season was difficult. We ended behind only Juventus, who made it to the final of the Champions League, so I think I can say it was a good season.”

How are Roma preparing for the Joan Gamper and the season that’s starting?
“We know we’re playing the best team in Europe, the champions. So it is an important game for us. We’re playing against a top class team and there are just a few days to go before we start the official competitions. Roma is the kind of club that always aims to win some kind of trophy at the start of the season, whether it’s the league or cup. Juventus are obviously the favourites, but we have a team that can do even better than last season.”I had the best four years of my life at Barcelona, both personally and as a player
Since you left, this is the first time that you have come to the Camp Nou wearing a different shirt. How are you preparing for that moment?
“I’m happy. As it’s a friendly, there’s less pressure. So I can enjoy it more. I had the best four years of my life at Barcelona, both personally and as a player, and I’ll never forget that. The fans always treated me very well, they never booed me once. I would say that this is like a homecoming, back to the place where I won everything.”

What do you think of the current Barça team?
“The season hasn’t started yet, but look at last season! They won the treble, so what more do I have to say?”

You were there for the first treble. What differences are there between that team and the one now?
“It’s hard to compare two very different times. Now they can win all six titles as well. But the most important thing is that they won the treble again.”


Do you think Barça will be able to win all six trophies?
“Of course! It is much harder to win the treble than the sextet. It takes five games to win the two Super Cups and the Club World Cup, a lot less than winning the Champions League or la Liga. I wouldn’t say the job is already done, but they are very close and they have the squad to do it.”

How would you define the Neymar Jr-Messi-Suárez forward line?
“Everyone knows it’s the best forward line in world football. It was unreal for them to score as many goals as they did last season. And it’s also unreal for a team to have three strikers of such class at the same time. Even with Suárez suspended for four months things worked out very well for them.”I'd like to be remembered as somebody who wore the shirt with dignity and who respected the club
What is your fondest memory of your time at Barça?
“There are so many. I was probably there for the best four years in the history of the club. Plus I was lucky enough not to go through any difficult times on a personal level. So I’d like to remember all four years as a whole.”

How would you like Barça to remember you?
“As a player that gave everything he had in the four years that he was there. Somebody who wore the shirt with dignity and who respected the club. That would be enough for me.”


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