Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré is preparing to depart the club at the end of the season. After eight years in Manchester, the Ivory Coast star is set to leave but is hopeful to remain in the Premier League.
The 34-year-old was crucial to Manchester City's emergence as a powerhouse of the Premier League. In an interview with the Guardian, he labeled cross-city rival Nemanja Matić as his toughest opponent and joked that he hated him.
Matic, I hate him, this bastard. He’s such a difficult player to play against. Tall, strong as well. It’s been fun to play against him, even though it’s difficult. To be able to find an opponent to play against me and stop me, there’s few of them, but Matic was one of the close ones who was able to create me problems.
Toure has secured seven major trophies in eight years, a fact he is all too aware of. He highlighted the breaking of United's dominance as a highlight.
To be honest, yes. That’s true, when I came to City, for them to be a big club, we had to put them in the shadow. We cannot compare – they have so many trophies, so many Champions League finals. But that was the purpose. To come to City, to put United in the shadow, although that was always going to be difficult.
Since his £24 million signing, Toure has enjoyed remarkable success despite the low-key ending. His 2013/14 season was a particular highlight when the playmaker shined under Pellegrini. That season he was appointed vice-captain and seemed to revel in the role as Vincent Kompany missed large parts of the season due to injury.
That season was in many ways indicative of his entire City career. Despite a title win, Touré's agent revealed he was unhappy at Manchester City due to the time for a new contract and that no-one from the club wished him happy birthday.
If a tad inconsistent, Toure was a star on the pitch for City and a consistent character off it.