Seydou Keita has told Barcelona that they ‘must have respect’ for an improved AS Roma side as they prepare for the first leg of the Uefa Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday evening.
The ex-Mali international turned out for both sides, enjoying the most success with the Spanish giants.
Keita lifted two Champions League trophies with the Catalan giants during his time at Camp Nou between 2008 to 2012. The midfielder moved to the Italian capital in the summer of 2014 and lasted for two campaigns before moving to El Jaish to end an illustrious career.
And the 38-year-old highlighted that Roma’s improvement in the Serie A and the European premier competition proves a worry for the Catalans.
“Before the season, not just in the final stages, Barcelona were favourites to win the Champions League, but they must have respect for Roma,” Keita told Mundo Deportivo.
“In the group stage, they led a group containing Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, and this proves they’ll be a tough team to face.
“Unlike other years, when they did better in the League and worse in Europe, it’s the other way round this season. I see them stronger in the Champions League and less so in Serie A.”
Radja Nainggolan and Gerson are two Roma players that fascinate Keita who remains coy on his expectation of the side’s director of football Monchi, who played a huge role in his move to Sevilla, from Lens in 2007.
“Nainggolan? He’s a very good player. Monchi? I don’t know if he can do as well for Roma as he did at Sevilla, but I hope he does well because he’s a person I rate highly.
“Who will I support? I prefer to say that the best team will win. Gerson? I’m watching him develop and he’s playing very well. He has quality.”