Sevilla star eyes 'big boys'
Sevilla star Seydou Keita has told skysports.com that he cannot wait for the next phase of the Champions League.
By Valer St Clair
Last Updated: 12/12/07 8:32am
Sevilla star Seydou Keita cannot wait for the next phase of the UEFA Champions League.
The Malian midfielder has helped the Uefa Cup holders into the last 16, following victory over Arsenal last month.
Now Keita insists Sevilla would be willing to take on anyone in the next phase but they want to make sure they finish about Arsenal and secure top-spot in Group H
"We are ready for the big boys," Keita told skysports.com.
"We have to finish first because by finishing first we won't meet the other two Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona so we have a great chance away to Slavia Prague."
Keita is starting to shine at Sevilla following his summer move from Lens and he admits he is now loving football again.
"I lost my hunger when I was at Lens," he continued.
"I was the star of Mali when I was very young and that put a lot pressure on me.
"Mali were looking for the next Salif Keita (considered the best Malian player of all time and current Mali FA president) and I could not cope with the pressure.
"However with the emergence of Diarra, Kanoute, Sissoko - that has helped me a lot as the pressure is shared amongst us all and I am proud to see them all excelling in different leagues - they are my brothers."
Keita will be in Ghana next month for the African Cup of Nations - but he knows Mali face a very tough prospect with Nigeria and Ivory Coast both in their group.
"The group has two super-powers, but I really think Ivory Coast are the strongest in the group," he said.
"They are a quality side, their attacking options are of the highest level with Drogba, Sanogo and the two arunas.
"However, we are there to defend ourselves and if we get out of the group anything is possible."