Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has called out Pep Guardiola, claiming he does not like picking African footballers.
Toure left City at the end of the season after eight glorious years. But in his final campaign his relationship with Guardiola deteriorated and he made only one Premier League start — in the champions’ meaningless final home fixture against Brighton.
Now, in an interview with a French football magazine, the 35-year-old has made the extraordinary suggestion that he was being discriminated against by Guardiola on racial grounds. Toure told the magazine that Guardiola was cruel to him because he’s black.
‘Pep did everything to spoil my last season. He was cruel with me,’ said Toure. ‘Do you really think he could’ve been like that with Andres Iniesta? It got to the point I asked myself if it was because of my colour. I am not the first. Other Barcelona players asked the question.
‘Maybe us Africans aren’t always treated the same by certain people. When you see the problems (Pep) has often had with African players, everywhere he has been, I ask myself questions. He is too intelligent to be caught. He will never admit it. But the day he picks a team with five Africans in it, I promise I will send him a cake.’
It could also be recalled that Toure had challenges with Pep during the 2016-17 season and was frozen out after his controversial agent Dimitri Seluk criticised the Spanish coach severally.
‘Pep wants to have obedient players who lick his hands. I do not like this relationship. I respect my coach but I am not his thing. Other players will never admit it publicly but some have already told me they ended up hating him. Because he manipulates and plays a lot with your head.’
According to Yaya, he had no idea why he was not selected last season, claiming he asked the coaches for his stats and they were as good as or better than those of younger players who were picked ahead of him. ‘I have the impression he (Guardiola) was jealous, he took me for a rival,’ Toure said.
‘I want to be the one who breaks the Guardiola myth. Barcelona, he did not invent it. He just had the intelligence to adapt what Cruyff set up. Pep wants to be considered a genius. When I see him scratching his head to show that he thinks, it makes me laugh. It’s comedy.’
During the final game for City, Toure captained the team against Brighton, and was presented with a lifetime season ticket and a framed shirt with the number 316, his total appearances for the club.
Manchester City declined to comment on Monday night.