It seems that Yaya Toure is a gentle and sensitive sort, God bless him. After being left out of Pep Guardiola's 25-man squad for the Champions League, his agent has demanded that the new City manager apologise.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Pep will have to 'say it like he means it' before any potential apology can be accepted.
Guardiola has made a promising start to his City revolution and his process of trimming the fat from his squad has been widely publicised. Joe Hart and Samr Nasri have already been shipped out on loan and it seems that Toure is being slowly edged out. The Ivorian has not yet played in the Premier League this season and his omission from the Champions League doesn't bode well for his future at the Etihad.
But we've been here before. Back in 2014 Yaya threatened to leave Manchester City after the club neglected to wish him a happy birthday. Yaya's agent Dimitri Seluk said at the time:
“What happened at his birthday meant the club don’t care about him. It was proof. They can say whatever they want, ‘Oh we like him, but we forgot.’ None of them shook his hand on his birthday. It’s really sick."
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 4, 2016
"It's really sick!" is a Trump-esque level of excess from a man who is supposed to be achieving the best possible deal for his client.
This time, his agent is looking for an apology and to be fair, he has said that Pep need only apologise if Manchester City fail to win the Champions League, for then his omission would presumably be justified. Seems reasonable.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Seluk said:
If he wins the Champions League for City this season then I will travel to England and I will say on television that Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world. But if City don't win the Champions League then I hope that Pep has got the balls to say that he was wrong to humiliate a great player like Yaya. This is Pep's decision and we must respect it. Yaya is a professional and so he will do everything he is asked to do.
Although these words are coming from Toure's agent, it won't reflect well on him. The memory of him throwing his toys out of the pram after his birthday was ignored is not only still fresh, but it has transitioned into club legend.
I remember when my parents forgot my birthday. Of course they were pretending and everything worked out just fine. Poor Yaya had no such relief. Although he does have millions of pounds in accumulated wages to ease the presumably excruciating pain of it all.
Now, let's get technical. Article 44.01 of the Champions League Registration states that "for all matches from the start of round of 16, a club may register a maximum of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current competition." He may have just ruined his chances of making that list by letting his agent run his mouth in the media. Hopefully not, let's not forget that Yaya Toure is a world class player and is utterly unplayable on his day. I'd certainly like to see him grace the Champions League again before he's put out to stud.