Keita: Pep would not play me

Seydou Keita says he could not understand why Pep Guardiola did not play him after saying he liked him as a footballer.

The Malian midfielder rejected a new contract at the Camp Nou last month in favour of a move to Chinese outfit Dalian Aerbin, insisting he had not gone for the money but more playing time.

“I have heard many times that Guardiola like me very much and he spoke well of me to the Press.

“However, after that he refused to play me,” said the 32-year-old in an interview with Match newspaper in his native country.

“The only thing I regret is all the good words he had for me. We spoke man to man because I did not think it was good he praised me and then did not pick me.

“It was a worry because at Barcelona the fact that you play one game and are a substitute in the next two means it is also a physical handicap.”

Barcelona signed Keita from Sevilla for €14m in July 2008 and he played in 188 official matches, scoring 22 times, before negotiating a lucrative deal with Dalian that will see him earn €10m per season.

Tags Guardiola Keita