Keita Balde Diao is finding his feet with Sampdoria in Italy.
The Senegalese forward has done well since joining the Serie A side on loan from French club, AS Monaco.
Last year September, Balde returned to Italy to join Sampdoria on a season-long loan from Monaco where he has struggled to establish himself as a regular since joining the club on a five-year deal in 2017.
This is the winger’s third stint in Italy having played for Lazio before being sold to Monaco who initially loaned him to Inter Milan and now Sampdoria.
This season, the 25-year-old has scored five league goals and assisted another strike in 11 Serie A appearances for the club where he plays alongside veteran forward Fabio Quagliarealla. Last weekend, the duo was on target in a 2-1 win against Fiorentina in the league.
Under coach Claudio Ranieri, Sampdoria has turned the corner and put their struggles behind them. The Blucerchiati currently sit in 10th position on the log standings with 30 points from 22 games.
Balde has come a long way since going through the esteemed La Masia academy in Barcelona to signing his first professional contract with Lazio where he featured for 110 league games and scored 26 goals.
He is also a fully-fledged international player having featured in two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2018 Fifa World Cup with the Lions of Teranga. Since making his debut in 2016, the attacker has played 30 international games and found the back of the net on five occasions.
Senegal reached the final of the 2019 Afcon, but were defeated by the Desert Foxes of Algeria. Under the mentorship of coach Aliou Cisse, the West African nation has emerged as one of the strongest countries in the African continent.
Names such as Sadio Mane, Ismaila Saar, Krepin Diatta and Balde have raised the bar in recent years.
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By Prince Sobayeni