VIDEO: Arsenal, Liverpool linked Lazio starlet makes Europa history

Keita Balde has been known to have plenty of tricks up his sleeve, both on the pitch and off.

The youngster was memorably jettisoned by Barcelona three years ago for a prank involving an ice cube in a team-mate’s bed at the age of just 15.

Despite his immense prospect, the Blaugrana sent a clear message of belief that his precocious nature outweighed his talent in value at the time in sending the youngster off to satellite club Cornella.

Keita would eventually find his way to Lazio, where he’s begun to showcase his ability in the first team this term after impressing at the youth level, scoring three times in 13 Serie A appearances.

The campaign hasn’t passed without incident for the 18-year-old, a training ground bust-up seeing him suspended in December, but top clubs have taken notice as production on the pitch has arrived.

Liverpool and Manchester City were each paired with Keita in January, whilst Arsenal are the latest to be alerted to the Lazio man with Italian reports citing interest from the Gunners earlier this month.

And now a little slice of history has been attached to the former Barcelona starlet’s name, as on Thursday he became the second-fastest goalscorer in Europa League history.

Just 17.8 seconds into Lazio’s round of 32 second leg encounter with Ludogorets Razgrad, Keita pounced on a weak clearance from the opposing goalkeeper to burst down the left and open the scoring.

The Aquile would go on to face elimination on the end of a wild 3-3 result that saw them bow out 4-3 on aggregate.

Keita’s effort goes into the record books second to Ismael Blanco’s 13 second strike in 2009 for AEK Athens against BATE Borisov, jumping in front of Sergio Aguero’s goal 18 seconds into Manchester City’s March 2012 tilt with Porto - also in the round of 32.

image: © batrax

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch