Naby Keita received a hero’s welcome from the Guniea squad for winning the Champions League with Liverpool

The beginnings were tough for the boy who rose from impoverished parts of Conakry, selling water in the streets with his mother.

It’s been roughly eight years since the Liverpool’s number 8 left home to go to France for playing professional football when he was nothing more than a 16-year-old ambitious boy.

He received a hero’s welcome back in Guinea as the nation cheered the return of their European champion.

Naby Keita’s rise to stardom has indeed become a folklore in the West African nation.

The midfielder has not played for the Reds since picking up a groin injury against Barcelona in the semifinals of the Champions League. A few days ago Liverpool were pretty adamant about letting the former RB Leipzig man leave for Guinea amidst his ongoing recovery.

But the Champions League winner has been ahead of his recovery schedule, to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

What a way has he been received by his national teammates and the coaches, with cheering faces and holding hands together as they danced and sang while rejoicing the return of their midfield superstar.

It clearly shows how dearly they need Keita for the upcoming AFCON campaign.

Keita will face his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah in a friendly game when Egypt hosts Guinea on 16 June.

Guinea plays in Group B alongside Nigeria, Burundi and Madagascar in 2019 African Cup of Nations held in Egypt between 21 June and 19 July.  They have never won the tournament with their best finish coming in 1976 where they finished second.

Check out the video of his reception from the Guinea squad below –

Naby Keita hitting form just at the right time as Liverpool chase glory in two fronts

Coming into a new club can always be daunting. This becomes even more of a challenge when the player comes from a different country, a different culture, doesn’t know the native language and arrives at a club with different visions and ambitions.

These are exactly the challenges that Naby Keita faced when he arrived at Liverpool at the start of the 18-19 season. The Guinean earned a reputation of being the most sought after box-to-box midfielders after his excellent spell at RB Leipzig. He joined Liverpool with fans and critics expecting him to tear up the league, picking up from where he left off at Leipzig.

But that wasn’t the case as it turned out to be as Keita struggled to make an impact, with inconsistent performances and injuries afflicting the talented midfielder, causing him to take a place on the bench.

With Liverpool chasing domestic and European silverware, and fixtures coming in thick and fast in the close-season, Keita was given an opportunity to contribute and prove his worth with a start in a league game against Southampton. The Guinean impressed with a stellar performance and nabbing his first goal for the club in a 3-1 away win.

Rewarded with a start in the Reds’ UCL quarter-final against Porto after the win over the Saints, Keita impressed again with a stellar performance with another goal.

Liverpool’s new number 8 seems to be finding his feet at the club and given his numbers in recent games, he’s going to be a player to keep an eye out for.

Nicknamed “Baby Keith” by the Liverpool faithful, Keita had a stop-start opening to the Premier League season, but having bided his time and with a little faith put in him, Keita is looking like the real deal.

And needless to say, he’s got the fans on his side and going mental over him. The fans were quick to notice Keita’s sweet performances and shower him with the plaudits. Twitter was brilliant as usual –

Hitting form at the perfect time with Liverpool chasing glory on two fronts, having Naby Keita in this type of form at this crucial stage could prove to be season defining for the Merseyside club.