Yaya Toure has accused Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola of “having problems with Africans”.
The explosive accusation was made by the Ivory Coast midfielder in an interview with France Football magazine, which was picked up by several British outlets, including The Guardian.
Toure left City last month after eight seasons at the Etihad, the last two of which were spent under Guardiola. Prior to City, the pair had worked together at Barcelona and Toure clearly isn’t a fan of the Spaniard.
“I want to be the one who breaks the Guardiola myth a bit,” said the 35-year-old. “Barcelona, he did not invent it. He just had the intelligence to adapt what [Johan] Cruyff had set up. Then, at Bayern and City, he tried to reproduce the same patterns but with this requirement: working with ‘his’ players and with almost unlimited means. It would not work at Crystal Palace or Watford.”
‘Some players ended up hating him’
Toure left Barcelona for City in 2010 because his game time was increasingly limited at the Camp Nou, and in the last couple of years at the Etihad he was a peripheral figure, playing only 228 minutes in the Premier league last season. Age might be a factor but in Toure’s mind it was more to do with his relationship with Guardiola.
“Pep likes to dominate and wants to have obedient players who lick his hands,” he said. “I do not like this kind of relationship. I respect my coach but I am not his thing. Like all players I have bickered with my coaches. But at a certain point men who do not understand each other reconcile.
“This is not possible with Pep, who is very rigid. The other players will never admit it publicly but some have already told me that they ended up hating him. Because he manipulates and plays a lot with your head.”
But it is Toure’s comment about Guardiola’s attitude towards African players that is the most controversial.
“He insists he has no problems with black players, because he is too intelligent to be caught out,” said Toure. “But when you realise that he has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions. He will never admit it. But the day he will line up a team in which we find five Africans, not naturalised, I promise I will send him a cake.”
Only Guardiola knows if there are any truth in the accusations but the Spaniard’s supporters are entitled to point, by way of a defence, to the notoriously fragile ego of the Ivorian midfielder. When City forgot to send him a birthday cake in 2014 he almost left the club because he felt “disrespected”.
There has been no reaction from City or Guardiola to Toure’s accusations but the Guardian claims that “the club are disappointed by the player’s remarks”