Italy U19 manager Alberto Bollini has recalled memories of working with Senegal international Keita Balde whom he lauded as an exceptional talent in the football realm.
Bollini first came into contact with Balde during his time as a youth coach at Lazio and eventually he was promoted to assistant coach.
“Keita Balde came to Lazio from the Barcelona Cantera. In the first six months due to problems related to the transfer he was unable to compete in the official matches,” Bollini told Sampdoria News.
“For every player, the Sunday match is everything, he [Balde] could only train with us and participate in the friendly games. He has a natural talent, it took little time to bring him to the fore. He is a very sensitive boy, he knows how to make himself loved in the locker room and cultivates friendships even outside the field.
“Balde made himself as a deejay together with his partner [Mamadou] Tounkara, another great talent now at Viterbese.
"He has always shown a great football personality. Temperamentally he is extroverted and likeable, at times I had to play the part of a somewhat severe coach, bringing him back to the tactical directives with discipline.”
Bollini also revealed that he still maintains contact with the Senegalese and reiterated he couldn't be prouder of his rise in football and looks forward to watching him in the next few years.
“He has always responded in an important way to my inputs, providing comforting feedback in the growth process. Years later, we are still writing to each other, over time he has matured a lot, has started a family and has never forgotten the values he believes in.”