Yaya Touré

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Yaya Touré
Yaya Touré.JPG
Touré in 2009
Personal information
Full name Gnégnéri Yaya Touré[1]
Date of birth (1983-05-13) 13 May 1983 (age 31)
Place of birth Bouaké, Ivory Coast
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester City
Number 42
Youth career
1996–2001 ASEC Mimosas
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2003 Beveren 70 (3)
2003–2005 Metalurh Donetsk 33 (3)
2005–2006 Olympiacos 26 (3)
2006–2007 Monaco 27 (5)
2007–2010 Barcelona 74 (4)
2010– Manchester City 140 (39)
National team
2004– Ivory Coast 85 (16)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10:58, 05 October 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 June 2014

Gnégnéri Yaya Touré (born 13 May 1983), known as Yaya Touré, is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Manchester City and the Ivory Coast national team.[3]

Touré is known for combining passing ability and physical power with technique. A versatile player, he aspired to be a striker during his youth[4] and has played centre back, including for FC Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final.[5] He frequently plays as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country and often switches from defensive and offensive positions throughout matches. Touré began his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas, where he made his debut aged 18. He was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012 and 2013.[6]

His performances attracted attention from Europe, playing for clubs in various European leagues. Touré played for Beveren in Belgium, Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine, Olympiacos in Greece, and AS Monaco in France. In 2007, Touré moved to Barcelona, playing over 100 matches for the club and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona team which won six trophies in one calendar year.

Yaya Touré then moved to Premier League club Manchester City in 2010, where he has since scored a number of key goals for the Citizens – most notably the only goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final. Touré has a distinguished international career with 82 caps for the Ivory Coast, representing the team in their first appearance in a FIFA World Cup, in the 2006 competition, and also played in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments. He is the younger brother of his Ivory Coast teammate Kolo Touré. They also played together at Manchester City for three years, before Kolo was transferred to Liverpool in 2013.

Early career[edit]

Touré joined the ASEC Mimosas youth academy in 1996 on the recommendation of his long-time mentor Patrick van Reijendam. A prominent figure in the ASEC academy was Jean-Marc Guillou. In 2001 Guillou invested heavily in a Belgian club, Beveren, with the aim of using the team to showcase Ivorian players in a European league.[7] Touré moved to Beveren in 2001, one of many ASEC players to do so in this period; by 2003 he was one of 14 Ivorians in the Beveren squad.

In the summer of 2003, Touré had a trial with Arsenal.[8] He started a pre-season friendly against Barnet on 19 July, playing as a second striker and then moving up front in the second half. Manager Arsène Wenger recognised his talent but could not decide on his best position and described his performance against Barnet as "completely average." The game finished 0–0 and the BBC Sport website said that he "blotted his copy book by missing Arsenal's clearest chance of the game, heading a cross from Quincy Owusu-Abeyie wide."[9] Wenger was still keen to sign the then-20-year old but Touré had difficulties in getting a work permit.[10] Ultimately, Touré grew impatient and opted to sign for Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk instead, where he spent one-and-a-half years.[11]

Club career[edit]

Olympiacos[edit]

Touré joined Olympiacos in 2005. He was described as "the new Patrick Vieira" by his older brother. Olympiacos won the double that season, and Touré was one of their key players. His performances in Greece were impressive and attracted interest from many clubs.

Monaco[edit]

After representing Ivory Coast in the 2006 World Cup, Yaya Touré was signed by French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in August 2006.[12] Yaya had a difficult relationship with the incumbent manager, László Bölöni, with Yaya claiming Bölöni refused to play him in his preferred midfield position.[13] Bölöni was soon sacked with Monaco languishing second from bottom in the league.[14] Laurent Banide replaced him and Yaya became an influential player in the second half of the season, scoring five times to help haul the club out of relegation difficulties.[15] Yaya had established himself as a key midfielder, and with interest from around Europe he decided to join FC Barcelona in the summer of 2007.[16]

Barcelona[edit]

Touré playing for Barcelona.

Touré joined Spanish side Barcelona for €10 million (£6.7 million)[17] and made his official debut for the club on 26 August 2007 during the league opener against Racing de Santander.[18]

In the 2007 Joan Gamper Trophy match against Inter Milan of Italy, Touré scored his first goal for Barcelona in a 5–0 victory.[19] He scored his first official goal with Barcelona in a La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao on 2 September 2007, a 3–1 triumph for the Catalans.[20] His first goal in the Champions League for Barça was against Schalke 04 in the 2007–08 quarter-finals, securing a 2–0 aggregate victory and a berth in the semi-finals.[21]

During the early stages of the 2008–09 season, newly appointed manager Pep Guardiola favoured Sergio Busquets in the defensive role of Barcelona's midfield trio. In the 2009 Champions League Final, he played centre back due to injuries and suspensions of first-choice defenders, despite having only played there twice before for Barcelona.[22] In late June 2010, Barcelona confirmed that Touré would be allowed to leave the club in the summer.

Manchester City[edit]

On 2 July 2010, Touré signed a five-year deal with Premier League club Manchester City for a fee of around £24 million and was allocated squad number 42,[23] which is the reverse of the number 24 jersey he sported at Barcelona, since Patrick Vieira had already been allocated that number. The move teamed Touré up with his elder brother Kolo, who signed for City in July 2009 from Arsenal. On 28 July, Touré made his debut for City in a pre-season friendly against Club América, which City won 4–1 on penalties after a 1–1 draw with the Mexican side.[24] In his home debut on 7 August, in another friendly match against Valencia CF, he was named man of the match.[25]

2010–11 season[edit]

On 14 August 2010, Touré made his Premier League debut in a 0–0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.[26] A week later, Touré impressed in the 3–0 defeat of Liverpool at Eastlands, forming a part of a three man midfield with Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong.[27] On 19 September, Touré scored his first goal against Wigan Athletic.[28] The goal was scored in the 70th minute and Touré was assisted by Carlos Tevez, who also scored in that match.[29] Touré had been seen to take up a more attacking position under Roberto Mancini and revelled in the position. He scored a brilliant left-footed drive against West Ham United and soon scored a second, which was later credited as an own goal because the ball rebounded off the post onto Robert Green's back and bounced in.[30]

He scored his third goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a delightful counter-attack move, with Touré making up 90 yards to latch onto the ball and fire it past the goalkeeper, with Manchester City eventually winning 4–3.[31] Touré's fifth goal for City came on 25 February in a Europa League game against Aris. The goal was a deflected strike to make the score 3–0 to man city. On 16 April 2011, Touré scored the only goal of the game in a Man of the Match performance against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.[32] Touré continued his Wembley success by scoring the only goal in his side's 1–0 win over Stoke City in the 2011 FA Cup Final,[33] ending Manchester City's 35-year wait for a major trophy,[34] and writing himself into Manchester City folklore in the process.[35]

2011–12 season[edit]

The 2011–12 season began strongly as Manchester City lead the table for the majority of the season, with Touré playing a vital part in midfield. His efforts were rewarded as he was crowned African Footballer of the Year for 2011, an impressive achievement for a midfielder, since the previous 12 awards have gone to African forwards.[6]

On 3 January 2012, in a match against Liverpool, Touré scored City's second goal of the game, a 33rd minute header from a David Silva corner. He was later fouled for the penalty that made the score 3–0 to City.[36] On 5 January, it was announced that Touré would be leaving to join the Ivorian national team for the Africa Cup of Nations and would miss City's FA Cup third round clash with fierce rivals Manchester United.[37]

Commenting to Sky Sports News after being targeted by racist mobs throughout a UEFA Europa League tie at FC Porto in February 2012 (his first game back with City after the African Nations Cup), Touré spoke of his love for playing football in England: "That's why we like the Premier League, it never happens there."[38]

As the 2011–12 came to close, Manchester City lost ground to Manchester United in the Premier League title race. After a defeat by Arsenal on 8 April 2012,[39] an eight-point deficit had been established between City and leaders United, with most writing off City's chances of winning the league with six matches remaining.

City, however, beat West Bromwich Albion 4–0, Norwich City 6–1, and Wolvehampton Wanderers 2–0 with United slipping up, meaning the deficit at the top was now only three points with only three matches to play. A victory against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium would move City to top on goal difference. The match was keenly anticipated as one of the most important matches the Premier League's 20-year history.[40][41] Manchester City won the match, thanks to Vincent Kompany headed goal just before half-time. Touré's performance throughout the match garnered many plaudits in the media, describing his performance as "dominant" and "magnificent."[42]

Touré netted a brace on 6 May in City's 2–0 win over Newcastle United, moving three points above Manchester United with one game left to play in the Premier League season.[43] Touré played the full first half before coming off due to injury as City defeated Queens Park Rangers 3–2 on the final day of the season, assisting Pablo Zabaleta's opening goal in the 39th minute, to secure the first league championship for the Sky Blues in 44 years.[44]

2012–13 season[edit]

Touré started the 2012–13 season with a goal in the FA Community Shield in the 3–2 win over Chelsea in Aston Villa's stadium Villa Park. This goal was followed up by scoring first for City in two games, against Liverpool at Anfield and against Queens Park Rangers at home. In City's opening Champions League game of the season, away to Real Madrid, Touré produced a stellar individual performance, assisting an Edin Džeko goal and continually worrying the hosts. Despite his best efforts, however, City lost 3–2 to a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal. He also scored in the Manchester derby, making it 2–1 to Manchester United, but City eventually lost 3–2. On 20 December 2012, Touré was crowned the 2012 African Player of the Year award at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana. It is the second time he has won the award.[45] On 24 February 2013, after returning from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Touré scored the opening goal as City beat Chelsea 2–0 in the Premier League.[46]

On 4 April 2013, Touré signed a new contract with City, keeping him at the club until 2017.[47][48] On 14 April, he was named man of the match as City again beat Chelsea, this time in the semi-final of the FA Cup.[49]

2013–14 season[edit]

Yaya Touré playing for Manchester City.

Touré scored his first goal of the 2013–14 season with a free kick as City beat Newcastle United 4–0 in their opening Premier League game. In City's second home match of the season he scored in a similar fashion from a free kick against Hull City. His form continued with a goal from distance in the UEFA Champions League group match against Viktoria Plzeň on 17 September 2013.[50] On 22 September, he scored the second goal in a 4–1 derby win over Manchester United[51] and was named man of the match.[52] His scoring streak continued when he scored direct from a free kick against Wigan Athletic in the third round of the Football League Cup. On 2 November, he scored again direct from a free kick, this time in a 7–0 victory against Norwich City.[53] The goal was his fifth in the league and seventh overall. His current manager Manuel Pellegrini has noted that Touré regularly stays behind after training to improve his free kick technique.[54]

Under Pellegrini, Touré has been promoted to vice-captain at Manchester City. He has regularly captained the team in the first half of the 2013–14 season in the absence of Vincent Kompany.[55][56]

On 23 October 2013, Touré was the subject of racist abuse from CSKA Moscow supporters at the Arena Khimki in the group stage of the Champions League.[57][58][59][60] On 2 December 2013, Touré was named the 2013 BBC African Footballer of the Year.[61]

On 4 December 2013, Touré scored twice for Manchester City in a 3–2 win at West Bromwich Albion. This took his tally of league goals to seven, his highest in a single Premier League season.[62]

On the 2 March 2014, Touré scored the equalising goal for Manchester City in the 2014 Football League Cup Final against Sunderland.[63] The match ended in a 3–1 win for Manchester City.[64] On 22 March 2014, he scored the first hat-trick in his career in a 5–0 win over Fulham at Etihad Stadium.[65] Touré scored the third goal for Manchester City on 25 March 2014 in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, powering City to a 3–0 victory over their local rivals.[66] On 13 April 2014, Touré suffered a groin injury and was substituted after just 19 minutes of a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool,[67]

On 18 April, he was named as one of the six players on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award.[68] On 27 April 2014, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year.[69]

On 7 May, Touré scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season in a 4–0 defeat of Aston Villa, becoming only the second midfielder to score 20 goals in a Premier League season, after Frank Lampard.[70]

On 20 May, his agent posted on Twitter that he had become unhappy at Manchester City due to the time it took City to give him a new deal in 2013 and was upset that no-one from the club wished him happy birthday. His agent, Dimitri Seluk told BBC Sport that Toure was "very upset" and could leave City. Although on Twitter he firstly denied these rumours he later tweeted "Everything Dimitri said is true. He speaks for me. I will explain after the World Cup."[71]

International career[edit]

Touré playing for Ivory Coast in 2012.

Yaya Touré has been a regular member of the Ivory Coast national team since his debut in 2004.

In 2006, he appeared for les Éléphants in all three of the team's matches at its first ever World Cup. In the 2010 tournament, he again appeared in all of Côte d'Ivoire's matches, scoring the opening goal in a 3–0 win over North Korea.

Touré has represented Côte d'Ivoire at five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments; in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013. In the 2006 and 2012 editions, the team ended as runners-up. Touré was named in the CAF's team of the tournament in 2008 and 2012.

Touré made his third World Cup appearance during the 2014 competition, and captained the team in their opening match – a 2–1 defeat of Japan in which he was named man of the match by FIFA.[72]

Style of play[edit]

Formerly a defender,[73] Yaya Touré plays primarily as a box-to-box midfielder, often switching from offensive and defensive stances as the match progresses. Touré is a complete and versatile midfielder,[74] who can play in several midfield positions, and currently, he is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and the world.[75] His key strengths are his passing range, vision, and physical ability. He is gifted with good technique and ball control, although he also excels defensively at breaking down opposing attacking plays and winning back possession through his powerful tackling ability.[76][77] He is known for his pace, stamina, and physical presence, which is often combined with lungbursting runs from midfield, and he has been referred to as a "human train" and a "colossus" by various pundits.[78][79] Touré is frequently pushed forward during the latter part of matches, most notably in the penultimate match of the 2011–12 season against Newcastle United where Touré scored two late goals to win the match, and put Manchester City at the top of the league.[80][81] He is also capable of scoring goals due to his powerful striking ability from distance,[82] and his heading ability, as well as his recently developed adeptness at scoring from set-pieces and penalties.[83]

Personal life[edit]

Yaya Touré is a practising Muslim, once turning down the traditional Man-of-the-Match champagne after a league game against Newcastle United in keeping with his religious beliefs.[84][85] He is the younger brother of Liverpool player Kolo Touré and elder brother of Al-Safa' SC's Ibrahim Touré, who died on June 19th, 2014, after a short battle with cancer.[86][87]

In October 2013, Touré joined a campaign against elephant poaching, becoming a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme.[88]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Touré was nominated in the Personality of the Year category at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards.[89] In July 2014, Touré was nominated for Prize in Entertainment at the 2014 The Future Africa Awards.[90]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 17 August 2014.[91]
Club Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Beveren 2001–02 28 0 0 0 0 0 28 0
2002–03 30 3 0 0 0 0 30 3
2003–04 12 0 0 0 0 0 12 0
Total 70 3 0 0 0 0 70 3
Metalurh Donetsk 2003–04 11 1 0 0 0 0 11 1
2004–05 22 2 2 1 4 1 28 4
Total 33 3 2 1 4 1 39 5
Olympiacos 2005–06 26 3 0 0 6 0 32 3
Total 26 3 0 0 6 0 32 3
Monaco 2006–07 27 5 0 0 0 0 27 5
Total 27 5 0 0 0 0 27 5
Barcelona 2007–08 26 1 2 0 12 1 40 2
2008–09 25 2 5 1 10 0 40 3
2009–10 23 1 6 0 8 0 37 1
Total 74 4 13 1 30 1 117 6
Manchester City 2010–11 35 6 8 3 8 1 51 10
2011–12 32 6 1 0 9 3 42 9
2012–13 32 6 5 2 5 1 42 9
2013–14 35 20 7 3 7 1 49 24
2014–15 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 140 39 21 8 29 6 185 51
Career Total 370 56 35 10 68 8 470 73

International[edit]

Ivory Coast national team
Year Apps Goals
2004 3 0
2005 2 0
2006 15 1
2007 4 1
2008 10 1
2009 9 2
2010 13 2
2011 5 2
2012 10 1
2013 11 6
Total 83 16

International goals[edit]

Score and Result list Ivory Coast's goals first
No Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 24 January 2006 Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt  Libya 2–1 2–1 2006 Africa Cup of Nations
2. 3 June 2007 Stade Bouaké, Bouaké, Ivory Coast  Madagascar 3–0 5–0 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
3. 25 January 2008 Sekondi Stadium, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana  Benin 2–0 4–1 2008 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
4. 20 June 2009 Stade du 4-Août, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso  Burkina Faso 1–0 3–2 2010 World Cup qualification
5. 5 September 2009 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Burkina Faso 3–0 5–0 2010 World Cup qualification
6. 25 June 2010 Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, South Africa  North Korea 1–0 3–0 2010 World Cup
7. 4 September 2010 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Rwanda 1–0 3–0 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
8. 10 August 2011 Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland  Israel 2–0 4–3 Friendly
9. 9 October 2011 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Burundi 2–1 2–1 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
10. 4 February 2012 Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea  Equatorial Guinea 3–0 3–0 2012 Africa Cup of Nations
11. 22 January 2013 Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng, South Africa  Togo 1–0 2–1 2013 Africa Cup of Nations
12. 26 January 2013 Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Phokeng, South Africa  Tunisia 2–0 3–0 2013 Africa Cup of Nations
13. 23 March 2013 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Gambia 2–0 3–0 2014 World Cup qualification
14. 8 June 2013 Independence Stadium, Bakau, Gambia  Gambia 3–0 3–0 2014 World Cup qualification
15. 16 June 2013 Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania  Tanzania 2–1 4–2 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
16. 3–2
17. 10 September 2014 Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaoundé, Cameroon  Cameroon 1–1 1–4 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

ASEC Mimosas

Olympiacos

Barcelona

Manchester City

Country[edit]

Ivory Coast

Individual[edit]