Barca midfielder admits Madrid rejection

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Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita has revealed he rejected the chance to join Real Madrid after agreeing to a move to Catalonia.

Juventus were also keen on signing the player from Sevilla in 2008, but after giving his word to then technical secretary Txiki Begiristain, he completed the move to the Nou Camp.

It's proved to be a fantastic move for the Mali international, who has won three consecutive La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns since joining Pep Guardiola's revolution with the Blaugrana.

"Barcelona had had three complicated years. Many people advised me not to sign for them," Keita told L'Equipe.

"I had advanced contact with Real Madrid and Juventus and both those clubs were putting pressure to sign me and offered me more money.

"But I had given my word to Txiki Begiristain."

Keita has become an integral part of Barca's midfield after joining from Los Rojiblancos, and has been involved in several major battles against their great rivals and his former suitor.

However, Keita has refused to criticise the style of play executed by Los Merengues in their efforts to de-thrown Barca both domestically and in Europe, with the 32-year-old unwilling to get involved in a war-of-words over the tactics of Jose Mourinho.

"Everyone has their own way of playing," added Keita

"They think that is the best way to beat us and that is that. One could discuss about tricks of the trade but I am not going to criticise anyone."

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