Pep Guardiola, Manchester City manager has revealed the problem between him and talented midfielder Yaya Toure and why he has sidelined him this season.
Guardiola said he was offended by the comment made by Toure’s agent and he therefore will deny Toure a chance to play for Manchester City until Toure apologises to the club.
The 33-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder’s agent Dimitri Seluk had said Toure felt “humiliated” by Guardiola after being left out of City’s Champions League squad.
“He must apologise. If he doesn’t, he won’t play,” Guardiola told reporters.
“It was difficult to leave him out of the Champions League squad but (the) day after, his (agent) went to the media. (Toure) has not had the courage to call me. From that moment he was out.”
Toure, four-times African Footballer of the Year, has been a mainstay of City’s midfield since joining from Guardiola’s Barcelona in 2010.
He has only played once this season, in the second leg of a Champions League playoff tie against Steaua Bucharest when City had a 5-0 lead from the first game.
Guardiola and Toure also clashed at Barcelona, with the player saying in a 2011 interview with a Spanish radio station that he felt forced out.
“He pretty much ignored me until City’s offer came in. That’s why I eventually opted to leave. I didn’t speak to Guardiola for a year,” Toure said at the time.
“I did not want to go and wanted to end my career at Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me.”
Guardiola subsequently disputed the player’s version of events and said he had tried to convince him to stay.
Toure, who has a year left on his City contract but had been tipped to leave after Guardiola joined from Bayern Munich in the close season, had announced earlier on Tuesday his retirement from international football.
“Writing this note was probably ‘the most difficult match of my life’,” he said in a statement on his website (officialyayatoure.com).
He said the decision was not to do with his age, the intensity of training or number of games.
“Football is everything to me. It gave me so many things in my career that now I don’t feel able to set new goals, as a player with the Elephants of the Ivory Coast.”
Toure scored 19 goals in more than 100 appearances for Ivory Coast and captained his country to their first African Nations Cup win for 23 years in 2015.
City play Swansea City in the third round of the League Cup on Wednesday.