Naby Keïta

Naby Laye Keïta (born 10 February 1995) is a Guinean professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Guinea national team.[3]

Naby Keïta
Keïta with RB Leipzig in 2016
Personal information
Full name Naby Laye Keïta[1]
Date of birth (1995-02-10) 10 February 1995[2]
Place of birth Conakry, Guinea
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)[2]
Playing position Central midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 8
Youth career
2004–2012 Horoya
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2013–2014 FC Istres 23 (4)
2014–2016 Red Bull Salzburg 59 (17)
2016–2018 RB Leipzig 58 (14)
2018– Liverpool 28 (3)
National team
2013– Guinea 35 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:00, 10 December 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:37, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

Keïta began his professional career with Ligue 2 club FC Istres in 2013, and a year later he moved to Red Bull Salzburg, where he won the Austrian Football Bundesliga and Austrian Cup double in both of his seasons. He then moved to RB Leipzig in 2016, making the Bundesliga team of the season in his first year and the UEFA Europa League squad of the season in his second. He agreed to join Liverpool in 2017, and completed the move a year later, winning the UEFA Champions League in his first season at the club.

Keïta made his senior international debut for Guinea in 2013. He has earned over 30 caps and was part of their squad at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 and 2019.

Club career

FC Istres

Keïta joined hometown club Horoya AC aged nine.[4] He moved to France in 2012, joining the youth team of FC Istres after unsuccessful trials at FC Lorient and Le Mans FC.[4]

In 2013, he was promoted to the first team of Istres. He made his Ligue 2 debut on 22 November 2013 against Nîmes Olympique.[5] He scored 11 goals in 23 games in his first season as a professional, while his team were relegated to the Championnat National.[6]

Red Bull Salzburg

In 2014, he joined Austrian top division side Red Bull Salzburg.[4] He made his league debut on 26 July 2014 against Wiener Neustadt.[7] Keïta ended the season with five goals and two assists in 30 games, winning the league and cup double. The following season, he was selected as the Austrian Bundesliga Player of the Year.

RB Leipzig

In June 2016, Keïta moved to Red Bull Salzburg sister-club RB Leipzig, who had just been promoted to the German Bundesliga.[4][8] He scored the winner on his league debut against Borussia Dortmund[9] and scored seven more goals in his debut Bundesliga season. He was named in the league's team of the season.[10]

Keïta was named in the squad of the season for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League, in which his team were quarter-finalists.[11]


On 28 August 2017, a deal was struck for Keïta to join Liverpool on 1 July 2018 after the English club triggered his £75 million release clause in addition to paying an undisclosed premium.[12][13] There would be no premium (£48 million total) if Leipzig did not qualify for European football, £4.75 million (£52.75 million total) if they qualified for the Europa League and £11 million (£59 million total) if they finished in the Champions League spots.[14] Leipzig finished 6th in the Bundesliga, qualifying for the Europa League.

Upon joining Liverpool he was handed the number 8 shirt by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard which had been vacated upon the departure of Gerrard to LA Galaxy in 2015.[15][16] Keïta made his debut for Liverpool against West Ham United on 12 August 2018 and played a part in the opening goal for Mohamed Salah in a 4–0 win.[17]

On 5 April 2019, Keïta scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 31 win against Southampton,[18] and added a first European goal four days later against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.[19] He was injured in May 2019, ruling him out for the rest of the season.[20] Although Keïta was injured, he won his first Liverpool title while out of the matchday squad as his team mates secured the win in the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in early June.

Hampered by injury, Keita was a fringe player during the early part of the subsequent season. Notably, he provided a goal and assist in a 3-0 win away to Bournemouth in December 2019, a game which marked his first league start of the season.[21] Three days later, he provided Liverpool's first in a 2-0 Champions League win against his former club, RB Salzburg, which saw the reigning European champions progress to the knockout stages as the victors of Group E.[22]

International career

On 28 July 2013, Keïta made his international debut for the Guinea national team against Mali in a 2014 African Nations Championship qualification match. He came on as a half-time substitute for Naby Laye Camara in the 1–0 home win.[23]

He was included in Michel Dussuyer's 23-man squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.[24] In the opening match against the Ivory Coast, he was struck in the face by Gervinho, who was sent off.[25]

On 12 November 2015, he scored his first international goal, the only one away to Namibia in the first leg of the second round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.[26] Three days later in the return leg – in Morocco due to the Ebola virus epidemic in Guinea – he scored again in a 2–0 win.[27]

Document falsification charges

In autumn 2017, Keïta was charged with uttering false documents. The German newspaper Bild reported that, in early December 2016 and again six weeks later, he had presented two fake Guinean driver's licences in order to obtain a driving licence in Germany. The district court in Leipzig (Amtsgericht Leipzig) fined him €415,000, basing the sentence on Keïta's estimated annual income of around €3 million. Keïta's lawyer filed an appeal.[28] The appeals court reduced the fine to €250,000.[29]

Style of play

While writing for The Guardian, Nick Ames and Nick Miller described Keïta as "a dynamic, box-to-box central midfielder," likening him to N'Golo Kanté. They also noted, however, that he is able to distribute the ball with range and accuracy, and score goals, which has instead frequently led him to be compared to Brazilian-Portuguese former playmaker Deco.[30] David Usher of ESPN FC has described Keïta as an energetic midfielder, with good defensive qualities, which also allows him to play in a holding role if necessary. Usher went on to note that Keïta is "quick, skillful, creative and direct. He can dribble, pass and shoot, and he frequently makes the spectacular look routine."[31]

Career statistics


As of match played 18 December 2019[2]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
FC Istres 2013–14 Ligue 2 23400234
FC Red Bull Salzburg 2014–15 A. Bundesliga 3054010[lower-alpha 1]1446
2015–16 A. Bundesliga 2912523[lower-alpha 2]03714
Total 591792131008120
RB Leipzig 2016–17 Bundesliga 31810328
2017–18 Bundesliga 2762110[lower-alpha 3]2399
Total 581431102007117
Liverpool 2018–19 Premier League 25210106[lower-alpha 4]100333
2019–20 Premier League 3100204[lower-alpha 4]12[lower-alpha 5]1113
Total 283103010221446
Career total 16838133303352121947
  1. Four appearances in the Champions League; six appearances and a goal in the Europa League
  2. Two appearances in the Champions League and one in the Europa League
  3. Five appearances and two goals in the Champions League; five appearances in the Europa League
  4. Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  5. One appearance in FA Community Shield, one appearance and one goal in FIFA Club World Cup


As of matches played on 14 November 2019[23]

International goals

Scores and results list Guinea's goal tally first.[23]
1.12 November 2015Sam Nujoma Stadium, Windhoek, Namibia Namibia1–01–02018 FIFA World Cup qualification
2.15 November 2015Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca, Morocco2–02–0
3.10 June 2017Stade Bouaké, Bouaké, Ivory Coast Ivory Coast3–23–22019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
4.31 August 2017Stade du 28 Septembre, Conakry, Guinea Libya1–03–22018 FIFA World Cup qualification
5.7 October 2017 Tunisia1–01–4
6.14 November 2019Stade du 26 Mars, Bamako, Mali Mali1–12–22021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification


Red Bull Salzburg




  1. "Naby Keita: 10 things on RB Leipzig's Liverpool-bound Guinea midfielder". Bundesliga. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  2. "N. Keïta: Summary". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. "Liverpool agree deal to sign Naby Keita". Liverpool Football Club. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  4. "Ten things on RB Leipzig's new African star Naby Keita". Bundesliga. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  5. "Istres vs. Nîmes – 22 November 2013". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  6. "Ligue 2 table".
  7. "Wiener Neustadt vs. Red Bull Salzburg – 26 July 2014". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  8. Fußball: Naby Keita wechselt von Salzburg zu Leipzig,, 20 June 2016
  9. "Leipzig get first Bundesliga win with Keïta goal against Borussia Dortmund". The Guardian. Associated Press. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  10. "Official Bundesliga Team of the Season for 2016/17". 26 May 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  11. "UEFA Europa League Squad of the 2017/18 Season". UEFA. 17 May 2018.
  12. "Naby Keita: Liverpool agree club-record deal for Leipzig midfielder for July 2018". BBC News. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  13. "Liverpool agree deal to sign Naby Keita". Liverpool FC. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  14. "RB Leipzig's Season Finish Could Wind Up Increasing Liverpool's Fee for Naby Keita". Sports Illustrated. 14 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  15. "Naby Keita: Steven Gerrard handed me the No.8 jersey". Liverpool FC. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  16. "Naby Keita Was Handed The Number 8 Shirt By Steven Gerrard". SPORTbible. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  17. Bate, Adam (13 August 2018). "Naby Keita impressed for Liverpool on his debut against West Ham". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  18. Mann, Mantej. "Salah ends drought as Liverpool go top". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  19. "Liverpool cruise to victory over Porto after Naby Keïta's flying start". Guardian. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  20. "Naby Keita: Liverpool midfielder out for at least two months". BBC Sport. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  21. Squires, Theo (7 December 2019). "New hope for Naby Keita after Liverpool midfielder leaves Jurgen Klopp with no regrets at Bournemouth". Liverpool Echo.
  22. "Red Bull Salzburg 0-2 Liverpool: Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah score to seal top spot in Group E". Sky Sports. 10 December 2019.
  23. "Keïta, Naby". National Football Teams. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  24. "2015 Nations Cup: Constant included in Guinea squad". BBC Sport. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  25. "Afcon 2015: Two-match ban as Gervinho apologises for red card". BBC Sport. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  26. "Coupe du monde 2018 : la Guinée s'en sort bien en Namibie" [2018 World Cup: Guinea travel well in Namibia] (in French). RFi. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  27. "CM 2018 : La Guinée confirme et se qualifie" [WC 2018: Guinea confirm and qualify] (in French). Afrik Foot. 15 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  28. "Leipzig-Star soll ein Vermögen an Strafe zahlen". Die Welt. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  29. "Leipzig's Naby Keita fined for false driving licenses". USA TODAY.
  30. Nick Ames and Nick Miller (28 December 2016). "Rising football stars: 10 players to watch in 2017". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  31. David Usher (28 June 2018). "Liverpool's Naby Keita promises to provide fireworks in the No. 8 shirt". ESPN FC. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  32. McNulty, Phil (1 June 2019). "Tottenham Hotspur 0–2 Liverpool". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
    Adewoye, Gbenga (1 June 2019). "Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Joel Matip and Naby Keita win Champions League title with Liverpool". Perform Group. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  34. "Salah and Mane Picked in First Africa Best 11". FIFPro. 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
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