Football player Keita Balde Diao appears to have bleached his skin as he looks way lighter than he did in the past. The Senegalese made headlines in 2022 as he looked much more different than usual when he met up with his national teammates for the African Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.
Placing photos of him in the past and what he looks like now reveals that he has done some work on himself to appear lighter. Further evidence of this can be seen in photos that reveal his knuckles and elbows which appear to be several shades darker than other parts of his body.
Keita Balde Diao was Originally Dark Skinned
People from Senegal and other countries close to the equator have some of the darkest skin tones in the world. This was the case for Keita Balde Diao even though he was born and raised in Europe. The footballer, who can play as either a forward or winger, was born in Arbúcies, Girona, Catalonia, to parents of Senegalese origin.
Keita grew up in Spain and began playing football at a young age. He rose through the ranks of the famed FC Barcelona youth academy before moving to play professionally for clubs in Italy and France. While Keita was eligible to play for Spain at the international level, he chose to play for his country of origin.
It is not clear whether the color of his skin played a role in making him choose to play for Senegal but the player is no stranger to racism as he has faced racist monkey chants on the field before. Growing up was however a different case for him as he went on record to say being black was never an issue for him. He told El Mundo that he was fortunate enough to have never experienced racism on a personal level as he grew up in a multi-ethnic area.
He Appeared to be Lighter than Usual at the 2021 AFCON Tournament
Keita Balde Diao was the talk of social media in January 2022 when he attended the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon. Pictures of him in his national team uniform were a huge contrast to what he used to look like in those same uniforms. It was pointed out that his skin had gotten considerably lighter, leading to accusations of him possibly going through a skin bleaching procedure.
Hundreds of pictures of the athlete from yesteryears were soon later published on social media. Pictures of his younger brother Ibourahima Baldé who is also a football player were also published to make a point.
Keita Balde has undergone an extreme change…. https://t.co/3J6TqHvemm pic.twitter.com/ROHaLefGZ8
— ﾒ𝟢 🌅 I left my girl back home, I dont love her (@glory98matondo) January 10, 2022
Keita was Widely Criticized for Bleaching His Skin
Keita Balde Diao found himself to be the butt of many jokes on social media after it was noticed that he had whitened his skin. One Twitter user described him as a white man, saying that if Senegal does not win AFCON, the white man playing for them should be blamed. It was further pointed out that skin bleaching can cause liver and kidney damage, psychosis, brain damage in fetuses, and cancer.
With Senegal struggling in the first few games of the tournament, Keita was accused by many of not providing help to his teammate Sadio Mane. He was said to rather be interested in working on how he looks than helping his country win the trophy. All these did not matter as Keita would go on to make two appearances in the tournament to help his team win the AFCON 2021 trophy.
The Player’s Partner was Accused of Orchestrating the Whole Thing
Keita was not the only one to receive the wrath of the public for bleaching his skin. His beautiful Italian partner, Simona Guatieri, a model and television personality known for her appearances on the Telecinco TV show Striscia la Notizia, was accused of being the one who made her African lover want to change the appearance of his skin.
Of course, no proof was provided to back up this claim as it was just mere speculation by people who felt the player was pressured in some way or another to do what he did.
Keita Balde Diao Has Not Responded to Any of the Criticisms Publicly
Keita Balde Diao has chosen to not respond to any of the bleaching cream accusations, at least publicly. The player has paid deaf ears to it all, carrying on with life as a footballer. He currently plays for Serie A club Cagliari and is enjoying every bit of life with his two children.