Guardiola refutes claim that he does not like African players

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has emphatically refuted Yaya Toure’s allegations that he favours white players, branding the midfielder’s comments ‘lies’.

Toure left City at the end of the season following eight hugely successful years but he brew up a storm earlier this week by claiming in an interview with France Football that Guardiola does not like picking African players.

Kevin De Bruyne quickly leapt to Guardiola’s defence and now the City manager has himself moved to quash Toure’s serious allegations.
‘They were lies and he knows it,’ he told TV3 in Spain. ‘We were together for two years and he says it now – he never told me to my face.’

Toure fell out of favour under Guardiola last season, making just one Premier League start all campaign as City marched to the title in record-breaking fashion.

yaya toure

And the Ivory Coast midfielder claims the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss was ‘cruel’ to him in his final year at the Etihad.

‘Pep did everything to spoil my last season. He was cruel with me,’ Toure told France Football. ‘Do you really think he could’ve been like that with Andres Iniesta?

‘It got to the point I asked myself if it was because of my colour. I am not the first. Other Barcelona players asked the question.
‘Maybe us Africans aren’t always treated the same by certain people. When you see the problems (Pep) has often had with African players, everywhere he has been, I ask myself questions.

‘He is too intelligent to be caught. He will never admit it. But the day he picks a team with five Africans in it, I promise I will send him a cake.’

The pair could come face-to-face again soon, with the 35-year-old Toure currently in talks with West Ham over a move to the London Stadium this summer.

He was paid £220,000 a week by City and would have to accept a pay cut at West Ham, but the Hammers are confident of getting the deal done.

Source; Daily Mail

#IfikieBibi! Yaya Toure reveals ‘Man City was my first wife, even my wife knew it’

Yaya Toure is closing the drapes on a fascinating and largely prosperous eight years in this part of the city. And he does not want his big night soured in any way.

At Manchester City he is known with affection as Uncle Yaya and the Premier League champions can expect a patriarchal address in the tunnel before kick-off on Wednesday night.

The players in the starting XI will be told that Brighton must be ruthlessly dispatched. Manager Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday that City want to ‘win for Yaya’ and there is a desire to give the midfielder, 35 next week, the Etihad send-off he deserves.

This will be his first Premier League start of a personally disappointing season and he wants to finish with a flourish. He will certainly be afforded that luxury by the club, who plan a presentation at full-time. There is a willingness to honour Toure’s achievements.

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It is why chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has renamed a pitch at City’s academy after the Ivorian. Youngsters will now pass a mosaic of Toure before training.

“It’s something you can look at and see how effective you have been,” Toure said. “This club was my first wife — even my wife knew it.”

Only Manchester politician Sir Howard Bernstein — the man behind the construction of what is now City’s stadium — and the club’s legendary manager Joe Mercer have mosaics in their name around the Etihad campus. Now that will also be Toure’s legacy.

That and the feeling of being among a clutch of players who took City into a new era. The goals in the 2011 FA Cup run, scoring the semi-final winner against Manchester United and then the only goal of the final against Stoke to end City’s 35-year wait for major silverware, were two historic moments.

“At half-time (against United) we were nearly fighting in the dressing room,” Toure revealed. “We said go out and play like men — or we go home and say to Khaldoon, ‘Thank you, we’ve eaten the money but we move on because this club will never achieve’.

“You saw a different City in the second half. The win was a message. They knew City were coming. Some said I came not to win trophies but was more impressed by money. The purpose was to put United in the shadow. The semi-final was a big part of that.”

The rows about birthday cakes, contracts and the outbursts by his agent Dimitri Seluk are long forgotten. Those who matter at City know Toure gave everything for their cause.

This is why Yaya Toure is so special to Man City – Lampard

Guardiola believes Toure – stung by criticism from certain pundits – can continue playing in England. That is where he would like to stay and he is confident of securing a Premier League move.

“What these fans and what this club want from me, I have given,” Toure added.

“It’s like I’m empty. I’m free to go. The most difficult part will be playing against City. Maybe clubs need my experience. When I’m around the young guys, I affect them. Gabriel Jesus was not playing and not happy. I took him to one side and gave him a pat on the back. The manager doesn’t know I’m doing that. That’s why you see the guys sing my name and come to slap me.”

And that is why they call him Uncle Yaya.

This is why Yaya Toure is so special to Man City – Lampard

Yaya Toure will make his 316th and last appearance for Manchester City against Brighton on Wednesday night. The 34-year-old Ivorian has won three Premier League titles in eight years at Etihad Stadium and Frank Lampard, who played with and against him, tells BBC Sport why he was so important for City – and what makes him such a special player.

I would put Yaya Toure in the top five of the toughest midfield opponents I faced in my career, and at his peak he could change games on his own.

Steven Gerrard probably edges it as the best I have played against, for his consistency over the years, but Yaya is up there along with Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Paul Scholes – which shows how highly I rate him.

lampard

Every midfielder has different attributes but the best players are the ones you fear, and I certainly did that when I was up against Yaya.

Even some of the very best play within themselves slightly, but he didn’t. He would hurt you by going forward and by scoring goals at the end of it, which is always a great trait that not many midfield players have.

When I faced him, I knew he was very good on the ball and could pass it around me if he wanted to. He knew the moments to keep it simple and move the ball around.

But if you got too close to him to try to stop him doing that, he also had that ability to drive through midfield and his physical power and pace – which was deceptive because of his big stride – made it so difficult to stay with him.

Either by making a one-two or just by facing me up and running straight past me, he would be gone.

‘He was bought to be a superstar – and he lived up to it’

Yaya is leaving Manchester City at the end of the season and I am glad he will get a proper send-off in Wednesday’s game against Brighton, because he definitely deserves one.

In his eight years at the club since arriving for £24 million from Barcelona in 2010, he has played a huge part in City’s rise, initially by being one of the first signings they made of a really top player from a big club.

yayaAlong with David Silva and Sergio Aguero, who followed him to Manchester, he was bought to be one of City’s first superstars and he has lived up to that with the way he has performed down the years.

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Yaya was integral to their first two title wins in 2012 and 2014, particularly that second success when he scored so many goals, and was the dominant force in midfield in the Premier League all season.

Yaya has played in so many positions but I preferred him as a deep-lying midfielder because he could do things there that others were not capable of.

He controlled possession and set the tempo for the team – then he unloaded and went forward to create or score. I loved that because it made him different, and made him very difficult to mark.

He has been a lot quieter this year but, in his first five or six seasons at Etihad Stadium, he was a big factor in the revolution of the club and signified the change that was happening there.

‘You get defined by big goals – and Yaya scored plenty of them’

The big players score big goals in big games and Yaya has always done that for City.

Right from the start he has played a huge part in helping them win trophies, scoring the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United in 2011, and doing the same against Stoke in that year’s final.

He scored two hugely important goals against Newcastle as City closed in on the 2012 Premier League title and then there was the one he bent in against Sunderland in the 2014 League Cup final.

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I could go on, but the point I am trying to make is that there are certain players in your squad – even a squad as strong as City’s – that you look to and rely on in moments like that, and Yaya is definitely one of them.

I found out for myself when I was at City for a year. The 2014-15 season was probably not Yaya’s strongest campaign but I knew when he was in the team that he could pop up and make a difference in tight matches.

That is one of the differences between a good player, and a great one. Yaya produced when it mattered.

He was a regular goalscorer, a great penalty and free-kick taker, and a big character at the club.

‘He had an aura – from the way he trained and the way he played’

As a team-mate, it was Yaya’s presence that counted more than anything else in the dressing room.

I did not find him to be a big speaker – he was quite private and he is a family man off the pitch.

Some people might take it as a negative that he did not say much but I think it is just his personality. Some players are like that, and I don’t mind it.

The way he was a big influence was the way he trained and the way he played. That gave him an aura.

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When I walked into the City dressing room, I could sense it straight away that he was one of the main characters there, on and off the pitch.

‘He has had to adapt to becoming a bit-part player, and he has taken it very well’

There has been another revolution at City since Pep Guardiola took charge in 2016 and Yaya has not been involved as much, especially this season.

I know myself as a player that, later on in your career, it is not easy when your role changes. He has had to adapt to becoming a bit-part player, which not every big player can handle, and I think he has taken it very well.

I would not have been sure that he would do that, because I never got that close to him personally. He was one of those players you did not quite know what he was thinking.

But like I say he was always quiet and got on with his job and I think it is to his credit that he has done the same even when he has been out of the team for so long.

Last season he was completely out of the picture at first under Pep, but got himself back in and earned himself another year’s contract.

I think he deserves huge respect for that, because it is definitely not easy when you are in your mid 30s, and he also did it without complaining at all.

– BBC

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