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Fri Apr 18 12:38:48 SAST 2014

Mali midfielder Keita is leaving Barcelona

Reuters | 08 July, 2012 11:450 Comments
FC Barcelona v Athletic Club  - Liga BBVA
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola (R) follows the game as he brings on Seydou Keita during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou on March 31, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain
Image by: Jasper Juinen / Getty Images

Mali midfielder Seydou Keita is leaving Barcelona following a four-year spell at the Nou Camp during which the Catalans won 14 trophies.

“Seydou Keita has announced tonight he will not continue with the club next season,” Barca said on their website (www.fcbarcelona.com).

“Barcelona thanks Seydou Keita for his contribution over the past few years and wishes him more professional and personal success in the future.”

Keita, 32, joined from Sevilla at the same time as Pep Guardiola took over as coach.

He had a close relationship with Guardiola and his exit is likely to be linked to the former Spain and Barca midfielder’s decision to quit at the end of last season.

Guardiola used Keita almost exclusively as a substitute and the player helped Barca win three Spanish leagues, two Champions Leagues and two King’s Cups.

Spanish media reported the midfielder had a clause in his contract, which runs until 2014, that allowed him to leave on a free transfer if he did not start at least half of last season’s games.

Keita has been linked him with a move to Chinese Super League club Dalian Aerbin.

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