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African Young Player of the Year 2016: Naby Keita | Talent Radar

Under our Talent Radar banner, we have constantly strived to document and highlight the progress of the younger stars of the beautiful game, before they progress into household names. Our latest initiative within the burgeoning Talent Radar section is the introduction of #The7 feature.

The second edition of this annual feature champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward seven of the best young individuals across seven primary categories. 


As far as stories of a lightning quick rise through the divisions go, Naby Keita’s story mirrors that of his current employers. The Guinea born midfielder moved to France as a teenager, and got a break playing in Ligue 2 there after an initial struggle. From there on though, he surged through the ranks, emerging as a key player for FC Istres

A couple of seasons in Austria with RB Salzburg, where he won 2 league and cup doubles, and also was the Austrian player of the year in his second season followed, before a move to newly promoted side, RB Leipzig in the summer. While RB Leipzig have certainly not been starved of attention, Keita’s signing did slip under the radar just a little; credit must go to their Director Ralf Ragnick for ensuring that.

Keita has no doubt been crucial in RB Leipzig’s challenge and Bundesliga debut. The young midfielder has already made 9 starts at the time of writing for his club, and his importance to the team is in no doubt. His work ethic, and energy are very useful to the 2 man pivot that the team likes to use, and ensures that their midfield doesn’t get overrun. Moreover, the diminutive midfielder also has a good range of passing, with the name Naby ‘Deco’ Keita not coming from nothing.

With RB Leipzing playing the way they are, he has placed himself, Naby Keita is certainly propelling himself to the heights of European football.

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