Leipzig chief attempts to explain Keita ‘village comments’

Joe Williams

Red Bull Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick has tried to explain his comments about a “whole village in Guinea” when referring to Naby Keita and his head being turned by reported Liverpool interest.

The Reds have seen bids of £58million and £66million rejected by the Bundesliga outfit, but reports on Wednesday suggested they are ready to accept a third offer from Liverpool – reported to be a club record £74million.

And Rangnick made some controversial comments that Keita had been poorly advised and insisted that too many outside people are offering their thoughts on his future, referring to a “whole village in Guinea”.

“There should be someone who points them into the right direction,” he said.

“The boys themselves are not the problem here. It is their surroundings.

“A whole village in Guinea or somebody from their entourage tells the players why they must do something right away. I can’t blame the players.”

The comment led to some furious reaction on Twitter, including tweets from two Guinean journalists.

“Shocked by the irresponsible words of Rangnick. If Guinea is a big village, what good is it to retain a villager in his team?” Guinean journalist Amadou Makadji tweeted.

“Rangnick should apologise to Naby and Guinea, a country whose history is rich. If necessary, give him a history class.”

While another Guinean journalist Sega Diallo said: “We cannot be linked to Red Bull Leipzig, the brand Red Bull and be a racist. The Bundesliga must crack down. Rangnick is a disgrace to his country.”

Rangnick has since attempted to explain the reasons for his choice of words when talking about Keita’s situation at the club.

“Many players with an African backround, and I’ve met a lot of them, there is a clan and sometimes a whole village that feeds with the help of a player. And that there are people who demand that he has to change, that is so.

“Believe me, my knowledge of geography is sufficient to distinguish Guinea from Africa.”