L’Equipe reports that the real reason Seydou Keita left Barcelona this week was that he would have to pay more tax.
The Malian international midfielder signed a lucrative deal with Chinese outfit Dalian Aerbin last weekend after failing to agree a new contract at the Camp Nou, bringing to an end his four-year spell at the club, with the law on income tax for Spanish non-residents meaning Keita would see his net salary reduced.
The law states that individuals who become residents for tax purposes can contribute for five years, after which they are liable to pay 19 per cent more tax, and with Keita having completed four years with Barca and one at Sevilla it was something he was not prepared to do without an improved deal.
However, the 32-year-old insisted he was still hopeful of staying with La Blaugrana right until the end.
“Barca and I tried to reach agreement but we didn’t succeed and that is how it is. It was a tax problem,” L’Equipe quoted Keita as saying.
“I had a great time there and the loved the simplicity and humility of the club and the players, which I will never forget.
“Yes, I will earn money in China, and this could be my last contract, but it is not the only thing as I am still ambitious.”