The Daily Mail are today reporting many supporter's worst fears: Kolo Touré is unlikely to play again for Liverpool, as the Ivorian defender is unlikely to be offered a new contract at the club. Toure made 72 appearances in three years at the club, scoring just once: a header in this year's 6-0 thumping of a human shell known as Aston Villa.
So, in memory of Toure's magnificent offering to the Premier League, here is a tribute to some of his finer moments in England.
His trial at Arsenal was magnificent
Allow Ray Parlour to fill in the details:
The 'Used Car Salesman' story
While at Manchester City, Touré had an affair with a young model in which he tricked her that he was a used car salesman. Here is an excerpt from the Daily Mirror's story:
The Manchester City defender told pretty Kessel Kasuisyo his name was Francois and showered her with expensive gifts he claimed he bought with cash he made selling motors, she claims.
And in a desperate bid to keep his real identity secret, she says, the £90,000-a -week star would sneak into her council flat wearing sunglasses with a baseball cap pulled over his face.
Smitten Toure, 31, kept up the astonishing facade for two years.
He married the mother of his two children during the alleged affair and even carried out a bizarre pretend proposal to Kessel, 22 – getting down one one knee to give her a £1,000 diamond ring.
But the game was up for the Ivory Coast international – who portrays himself as a devoted family man – when one of his mistress’s pals recognised him.
She told Kessel to Google her car salesman boyfriend’s real name – and the shocked beauty found Toure’s wedding pictures online.
Here is the story's evocative image:
He arrived at Liverpool as the subject of a documentary
Touré had been serving a suspension for using his wife's diet pills. This documentary cut to the heart of his struggle.
The creation of this meme
This wizardry captures the essence of the man.
He had an inspirational approach to gym work
Credit for this video goes to Jose Enrique's Instagram, obviously.
His anguished reaction to an error against West Brom
A dodgy back-pass meant Liverpool dropped two points, which proved to be precious. Not that this error affected Liverpool in the long-term: they won their next eleven games.
His personal nightmare against Fulham less than a fortnight later
Liverpool won a thrilling game at Craven Cottage 3-2, without much help from Toure. he had a disastrous opening 15 minutes, beginning with this comedy own goal:
A few minutes later, he crashed into Phil Dowd:
His entire performance was summarised brilliantly by Jonathan Liew of The Telegraph:
To watch Toure for the rest of the half was strangely bathetic. For the most part, he was a quiet but grimly menacing presence, like an overflowing kitchen bin that everyone knows needs to be emptied sooner or later.
He has an extraordinary fear of animals
During a pre-season trip to Australia, Touré was invited to partake in a photo opportunity with a Koala Bear, only to run away in terror. He explained afterwards that
It wasn’t anything against koalas. I’ve had a dog at home for seven years and I’ve never even touched it.
I can look at animals but I can’t bring myself to touch them!
He was far more friendly with humans
His Liverpool career got better as it went along, and he tore it up at the Bernabeu
Real Madrid can't live with Kolo Toure here.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarrett) November 4, 2014
He was a genuinely good player
Toure formed a superb defensive partnership with Sol Campbell in Arsenal's Invincibles season, and Liverpool were the only club at which he played where he failed to win the League. In addition, he also scored a penalty in Ivory Coast's shootout victory over Ghana to finally win the African Cup of Nations and ended his Liverpool career as perhaps their best player in a European final. A fine career, with some fantastic memories.