Guardi­ola: Toure won’t play for City un­til agent apol­o­gises

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Yaya Toure re­tired from in­ter­na­tional foot­ball with the Ivory Coast yes­ter­day — and won't be play­ing again for Manch­ester City ei­ther un­less his agent apol­o­gizes for com­ments about club coach Pep Guardi­ola.

The mid­fielder's rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Dim­itri Seluk, re­cently said Guardi­ola hu­mil­i­ated his client by leav­ing him out of City's squad for the Champions League group stage

That ir­ri­tated Guardi­ola, who said that since then “Yaya is out.”

“I ac­cept if Mr. Dim­itri Seluk came in a press con­fer­ence or (spoke to) his friends in the me­dia — be­cause he has not the courage to call me — and apol­o­gized to Manch­ester City, his team­mates, and the trainer,” Guardi­ola said.

“When that hap­pens, Yaya will be part of the group and he will have the same chance to play all the games.”

Un­til then, the 33-year-old Toure won't be adding to his one ap­pear­ance this season, a vir­tu­ally dead match in the Champions League play­offs. He didn't even make the sub­sti­tutes' bench for City's other seven matches.

An in­te­gral part of City's team since sign­ing for the English club in 2010, Toure strug­gled for form last season and isn't deemed fit enough by Guardi­ola to play City's high-en­ergy press­ing game in the Span­ish coach's first season at Eti­had Sta­dium.

Guardi­ola pre­vi­ously coached Toure at Barcelona, and sold him to City.

Now City coach, Guardi­ola has showed he is not afraid of tak­ing on big per­son­al­i­ties at the club, hav­ing also sent long­time goal­keeper Joe Hart on loan to Torino for the rest of the season.

“I can­not imag­ine in my pe­riod when I was a foot­ball player (at Barcelona), my (agent) go­ing to the me­dia and speak­ing against (former Barca coach) Jo­han Cruyff, about this and about that,” Guardi­ola said.

“Maybe it's a new era now, the new pe­riod chang­ing, but I'm an old guy. I am old gen­er­a­tion, and (an) old-gen­er­a­tion man­ager has to make his play­ers his job and train­ers his job.”

Seluk is an out­spo­ken agent, and even com­plained in 2014 that City showed Toure — a four-time African player of the year — a lack of re­spect by not giv­ing him a cake for his 31st birth­day.

“To­day, (agents) be­lieve they are more than they are,” Guardi­ola said.

“If he has a prob­lem call (di­rec­tor of foot­ball) Txiki Be­giris­tain, the club, and they can talk. Un­til he doesn't speak, Yaya is not go­ing to play.”

Hours be­fore Guardi­ola spoke out, Toure an­nounced in a state­ment on his Twit­ter page that he would no longer play for Ivory Coast.

He played 113 times for his coun­try, cap­tain­ing the Ivo­rians to the Africa Cup of Na­tions ti­tle last year.

“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,” Toure wrote. “Foot­ball is ev­ery­thing to me, and it gave me so much in my ca­reer that I no longer feel able to set my­self new goals as a player with the Ele­phants of Ivory Coast.”

Yaya Toure

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