Yaya Toure may not play for Manchester City again.
Toure, 33, hasn’t featured at all for City in the Premier League this season under Pep Guardiola with the towering Ivorian midfielder having one year left on his current contract at the Etihad Stadium.
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Guardiola, speaking to the media ahead of City’s League Cup game at Swansea City on Wednesday, confirmed that Toure will not play again at City until he apologizes for comments from his outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk who said Guardiola had “embarassed” Toure after leaving him out of his UEFA Champions League squad for this season.
Here’s what Guardiola had to say to reporters.
“He must apologize to his team-mates. He must apologize to the club,” said Guardiola. “If he doesn’t, he won’t play. A manager has to make his job. If he has a problem he should speak to people at the club. But the day after, his manager (agent) went to the media. He (Yaya) has not had the courage to call me.
“I cannot imagine when I was a player that my manager [agent] would go to the media and speak against [former Barcelona coach] Johan Cruyff and say about this and that. Maybe it is a new period and things are changing. But I am an old guy. In the old generation, the manager has to make his job and the player his job, trainer his job.”
Toure’s agent has also said that if City fail to win the UCL this season then Guardiola should “have the balls” to apologize to Toure.
Well, Guardiola wants the exact opposite.
I was in one of Guardiola’s press conferences on Aug. 19 where he made a comment about Toure’s agent and said: “I’m very glad his manager [agent] said I am a good coach. Thank you Dimitri [Seluk].” Toure has only played once for City this season, a second leg game against Steaua Bucharest in the UCL play-off round after City won the first leg 5-0.
There is obvious tension here which dates back to Toure’s time at Barcelona where Guardiola decided to sell him. Until Toure apologizes — which, if he hasn’t done by now is he really going to? — he won’t play for City again.
It would be a sad end to a glittering City career for Toure who has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups during his time at the Etihad.
After eight wins from eight to start his time at City, is there any need for Guardiola to take this dispute into the public eye? After his treatment of Joe Hart and now Toure, the Spanish coach isn’t afraid of upsetting City’s old guard and making tough decisions.
It was a busy news day for Toure who also announced he will be retiring from international duty.
After playing 113 times for the Ivory Coast, which included winning the African Cup of Nations for the first-time in 2015 and being crowned the four-time African Player of the Year has decided to retire from international action.
Here is Toure’s statement from his website.
“Writing this note was probably ‘the most difficult match of my life’. After 14 years at the highest level, I’m sure this is the right time for me! The fact that I am 33 now, the intensity of training and the multitude of games are not the reasons why I am making this decision.”