LifeBogger presents the Full Story of Football Genius, who is best known by the name; “Rough Diamond“.
Our version of Naby Keita’s Biography Facts, including his Childhood Story, brings you a full account of notable events from his childhood time to date.
The analysis of the Guinean footballer and Legend involves his life story before fame, family background, relationship life, and many other OFF-Pitch facts (little known) about him.
Naby Keita’s childhood story is interesting, if not uncommon.
It’s a story of a poor boy from Conakry, the capital of Guinea in West Africa, who, upon his birth, became blessed with extraordinary football talent. Now without further ado, let’s Begin.
Naby Keita Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
For Biography starters, his full names are Naby Laye Keïta. He was born on the 10th day of February 1995 to his mother, Miriam Camara and father, Sekou Keita in Conakry, Guinea.
As soon as Keita could walk his mother, Miriam Camara, started confiscating items from his feet.
According to his father, Sekou Keita, Naby had a football-centric childhood, and his destiny was decided as soon as he grew past being a toddler.
According to Naby Keita, said in laughter, punctuated words;
“My mum told me that anything that would fall from the table, whether it was a bottle of water or an orange, I would dribble with it.
Whatever was on the floor that I could kick, I would first entertain myself with it. No matter where she would take me, I would do this.”
Back then as a child, he always wanted the ball around him. Naby Keita was seen as the shy, quiet but eccentric and energetic type of kid.
Naby Keita Bio – Education Vs Football:
Back then, as a child, it was inevitable that Naby Keita would want to pursue a career in football.
However, his parents tried to direct him towards a different path, considering the fact that except on very rare occasions, football was only meant for the rich and connected in Guinea.
His parents, Sekou and Mariam, wanted their son to study. They felt education was most important and stable.
Naby followed their wish but struggled to pass exams in school. Ideally, there was nothing else in his head but football. His parents tried and tried, but they could see their son loving his books.
At some point, everyone in Keita’s household (brothers, sisters, uncles, aunties, etc.) supported his quest to play football.
His parents at this time had no choice but to give him their support because they saw in their son, a rare football talent.
Naby Keita Biography Facts – The Liverpool Early Contact:
At the age of 12, Naby Keita was already being advised by local scouts that his talent could land him in Europe.
However, such thoughts were too much for someone so young as him to process, as he wasn’t mentally ready for such a big step.
Back then, his only reach to Europe was to visit viewing centres to watch a lot of Ligue 1, Champions League and Premier League games on TV.
In a bid to fight against poverty in his family, Naby Keita had to grow the belief that he would someday play in Europe.
He was determined to become a footballer, not only because he loved the game, but so because he wanted to provide for his family and relatives.
Naby Keita, at that time, wore the number 10 shirt for his local club in Koleya, Guinea.
Naby Keita played with whatever he could and sometimes, he would wear sandals and old damaged shoes just like his other teammate would do (see photo above).
Back then, they would utilize any small field to play football, even though it means playing at roadsides and dodging cars on the streets of Guinea. In his words;
“We would play anywhere there was open space, which was often on the street and we would have to dodge the cars!.
I was bumped so many times, but I kept going because I never wanted to lose possession.
Nothing could separate me from the ball and I learnt so much from my experiences on the street.”
Quest for Europe:
The ability to play without football boots and shinguards contributed to what had made Naby Keita fearless on the pitch of play. As he puts it;
“I didn’t have boots and treasured football shirts that were given to me.
Am glad this has helped me to be better prepared for anything now as a professional.
Today, I’m not scared of anything on the pitch.”
Naby progressed in his local career, still in the absence of football shirts. Back then, his team (Horoya) would wear Liverpool jerseys.
Without a doubt, he was born to become a red, as we see him in the photo below (Second to left).
While Looking at the picture, it is hard to believe Naby would grow taller. Although facial-wise, he didn’t change much.
As seen from the picture above, Naby Keita was one of the smallest among his teammates and even his opponents.
Being the smallest meant he had to fight for everything: the chance to play and get respect from the bigger players. This led to his aggression as a way of showing he was small and mighty.
Naby Keita Untold Biography Facts – Going to France:
At 16, Naby was flooded with European football enthusiasm but unsure of what to expect.
Shockingly, a miracle finally came; he was called for trials by a French football academy by some French scouts who came to visit the country.
Because they never handed him a professional contract in which monies was involved, his parents and relatives got confused. As Naby Keita admitted;
“They didn’t want me to go so far away and they were worried about how I would adapt to the new surrounding. They later realize it was a victory for the family, against poverty”
France was more difficult than Naby could have imagined, as everything except the language was different.
Back then in his homeland, Naby was used to playing football with his friends. This time, he was with strangers who never laughed or played with him much but always wanted to keep to themselves.
Naby Keita Rejection Story:
During further training with teammates, his coach once asked him to do things he’d never heard of.
A lot of football terms were used, which Keita couldn’t understand or had no clue about. This was the root cause of mockery and rejection by his teammates, which left him alone and sad.
In response to this, Naby Keita moved back and forth between Conakry, Guinea and France, where rejection from his French teammates slowly ate into his conviction. This was a time Naby told himself;
As I faced rejection, I did wonder if I would ever make it. It was indeed a tough time.
Keita said and continued…
You have your dream within touching distance, then it falls through and you have to start from the beginning again.
For Naby Keita, the most surprising thing about his rejection period wasn’t about him being in an unfamiliar place or clashing with a contrasting French culture or dissimilar teammates but the completely alien way football was interpreted. As he puts it;
“I was never exposed to the professional side of the game. I didn’t grow up in an academy and everything I knew was from the street where I would get the ball, run with it, show some skills, beat players and score.
Upon hearing about his troubles, his parents got very worried about their son. Keita had to call them six times a day to tell them everything would be fine.
Overcoming his Limits:
Naby Keita finally learnt the European football methods, which saw him as a vital footballer effective both offensively and defensively for his French academy club.
Aside from learning his African style, he could now tackle, take on defenders, intercept, switch the play, transition quickly, dissect or nullify the opposition and dictate his side’s tempo. It was a unique, valuable combination of African and European styles.
Naby Keita Bio – Rise to Fame Story:
Naby, at this time, was ripe to begin his senior career. Le Mans, who picked Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast, was the first club to rank Keita’s potential higher but they were unable to recruit him at 18 as they were on the brink of bankruptcy.
However, one of their employees recommended the “rough diamond” to the Sporting Director of another club, FC Istres.
After a positive review, the club in the south of France to sharply arrange a trial. Fortunately, in which Naby made an instant impression and became a part of the club. As Keita puts it;
I had waited so long. Despite having many setbacks, I got my first chance which proved I belonged in Europe
It was tough for FC Istres to keep Keita as lots of tempting offers came. Just after a season, the club sold him to Red Bull Salzburg, where he met and became best friends with Sadio Mane (three years his senior), who later moved to Southampton.
Upon his arrival at the club, Keita met competition. He once revealed.
“At first, I wasn’t starting and it was very frustrating. I didn’t like it and it made the settling-in period harder.
But Sadio my best friend said to me ‘My little brother, stay calm. Your chance will come and when it does, you will make the most of it.’”
Sadio Mane helped Keita with everything – the language, making friends, understanding the club and the city. Below is a photo of both friends while in Red Bull Salzburg.
And, of course, Mane was right as his best friend Once Keita finally got his chance at the first team.
Keita never hesitated to show his qualities when the opportunity came, and everything went much smoother.
Several offers again came, and Keita moved to RB Leipzig, where he became teammates and best friends with Timo Werner.
The rest, as they say, is now history.
Naby Keita Falsifying Document – The Story:
Around September of 2017, Keïta was charged a whopping €415,000 because of document falsification as German newspapers reported. It was about his fake driver’s license.
Naby Keita went to an African Guinea home to prepare a fake driver’s license in order to obtain another driver’s license in Germany. Unfortunately, he was caught thanks to a joint collaboration of officials in both his home country (Guinea) and Germany.
The district court in Leipzig (Amtsgericht Leipzig) based its sentence on Keita’s net income of around three million euros per year.
In defence, Keita’s lawyers filed an appeal against the penalty order, which saw the fine reduced to €250,000 (£220,000).
Naby Keita Family Facts:
When Keita was around 11 or 12, his friends and even his father nicknamed him Deco. This is because they thought he played like the former Chelsea and FC Barcelona player. As Naby Keitan
“I wanted to be Deco, Titi Camara or Pascal Feindouno when I was young, and now there are kids with my name on the back of their shirts!
That is such a big motivation for me and I hope I continue to show them that with courage and determination that they can achieve anything”
Naby Keita’s father is a huge fan of Liverpool! he reveals. As far back as he can remember, his dad was mad about the club before Keita even knew what Liverpool was as a kid.
Keita’s knowledge of Liverpool started during Steven Gerrard‘s reign and 2005 Istanbul memories.
Naby Keita’s mother often comes every three months. To visit and stays with her son. As Naby Keita says;
“Now she doesn’t have to shout at me for kicking everything around, but she is still my rock. I am nothing without my family, and no matter what happens, I will never forget where I am from.”
When he goes back home;
“When I go back to Conakry, there are still children playing on the street without shoes, dodging the cars.
I always buy boots when I’m back for as many kids as I can because I know how much it can mean to have something so simple. There’s so much skill and talent in Guinea, it fills me with pride.”
Hope for the Upcoming
“It doesn’t matter how poor you are, or where you’re from, if you are willing to make sacrifices, willing to work hard and to never stop fighting for your dreams, you can make them happen.”
Keita is described as a dynamic, box-to-box central midfielder. He is also able to distribute the ball with range and accuracy. Also, score goals frequently. He has been compared to N’Golo Kanté and Deco.
Naby Keita continued after breaking into the 2017 Goal 50, which ranks the 50 best players in the world of the past year.
Thanks for reading our Naby Keita Childhood Story, plus untold biography facts.
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