What Yaya Toure Said About Pep Guardiola Has Shocked Everyone

Yaya Toure celebrates scoring City's first goal.

Reuters / Scott Heppell

Yaya Toure has hit out at Pep Guardiola, claiming the Manchester City gaffer discriminates against players from Africa.

The 35-year-old midfielder accused the Premier League winning boss of “cruelty” and being unable to work with players from his continent.

In an interview with France FootballToure remarked:

“I tried to understand it and I even asked coaches for my stats. When I realised that they were as good or better, both in training and in matches, as those who played and were younger than me, I understood that it was not question of physicality.

“I don’t know why but I have the impression that he was jealous, he took me for a rival. I have the impression that Pep, without acknowledgment or respect, did everything to spoil my last season.

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“He was cruel with me. 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’m not the first, other Barca players asked the question too.

“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’s too intelligent to be caught. He’ll never admit [not liking African players]. But the day he picks a team with five Africans in it, I promise I will send him a cake!

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“Beyond that, Pep likes to dominate and wants to have obedient players who kiss his hands. I don’t like that kind of relationship. I respect my coach but I’m not his thing.”

Following Guardiola’s arrival at City in the summer of 2016, it was widely speculated that Toure would be moved from the club due to the differences that emerged between the two.

The 2-time European champion with Barca, however, held on to Toure in a rather surprising fashion, but it became clear right at the start of the 2016-17 season that the latter did not feature among Guardiola’s plans for the first team.

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Toure clocked in at least 37 appearances in each of his first 6 seasons at Man City, and was also nominated as the Premier League Player of the Year in the 2013-14 season.

This marked the peak of his time with the Mancunians, who won the league title that season on the back of Toure’s spectacular goalscoring form in the league.

Despite still being clearly at the top of his game, Toure’s appearances fell from 47 in 2015-16 to 31 in the following season. His tally of 17 appearances this season mark the lowest number of caps the Ivorian has earned in 14 years of being a professional in Europe.