Joseph Ebogo of Cameroon is challenged by Keita Balde of Senegal during the Afcon Quarter Final match between Senegal and Cameroon on the 28 January 2017 at Franceville , Gabon Pic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix
Monday Nov 06, 2017. 12:00
Senegalese international forward Keita Balde Diao has disclosed that it was his heart that told him to choose the Lions of Teranga over the Spain national team.
The highly attacker was born in Arbúcies, Catalonia, Spain to Senegalese parents and he came up through the FC Barcelona's youth academy.
Keita, who joined Monaco-based side AS Monaco from Italian club Lazio in August, 2017, was eligible to play for Spain, but he chose to play for his father's country, Senegal.
“I waited for a Spain call-up but then my heart told me to play for Senegal,” Balde told L’Equipe.
“I took this decision after discussing it with my parents and to me, it was an unbelievable feeling to play my first game for the national team in front of my family.
The 22-year-old is already enjoying life at Monaco having scored three goals in six French Ligue 1 matches.
“When I came to Italy, at 16, I learned things that aren’t taught in Spain, the physical and tactical parts of football,” he continued.
“I wanted to leave Lazio, experience a new football style, know different people. I have followed Ligue 1 and Monaco last season, they did great in the league and in the Champions League.
“My friend Benjamin Mendy, whom I talked to before signing, also spoke highly of the club."