We all knew it was coming, but today Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Yaya Toure will be leaving Man City at the end of the current season.
Toure signed a one-year contract extension last June and will be allowed to waltz off into the sunset once it elapses next month – thus bringing to an end the Ivorian’s eight-year stay at the Etihad.
The news was confirmed by Guardiola during his Friday press conference:
Yaya came here at the start of the journey. Where we are now is because of what he has done.
We cannot forget the period from Roberto Mancini, and especially Manuel Pellegrini, Yaya was the key player.
The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves, one of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.
All the game will we be focused on winning for Yaya, we are going to try to do it for him.
Pep’s not wrong. Toure joined from Barcelona before the 2010-11 season and proved to be a pivotal on-pitch proponent in City’s ascension from perennial also-rans up into to the realm of the ‘super clubs’.
He leaves having established a legitimate claim of being one of, if not the best player in City’s entire history – if you can forgive the whole ‘birthday cake’ thing, that is.
Indeed, 2011/14-era Yaya was terrifying. Bulldozer of a dribbler, changer of games, scorer of masterful goals – the lot. It’s little wonder his career pomp coincided with City’s first flush of nouveau success.
In fact, we can pay Toure little more homage than admit that he, and he alone, is the only player in existence who could get away with wearing gloves and a snood in March.
That’s how bloody good he was.