Africans on Guardiola's blacklist, alleges Toure

PARIS • Yaya Toure accused Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola of having "problems with Africans" in an interview published by France Football magazine yesterday.

"He insists he has no problems with black players, because he is too intelligent to be caught out," the 35-year-old Ivorian said.

"I'm not the first to talk of these differences in treatment. At Barcelona, I know that some also asked questions. He will never admit it. But the day he will line up a team in which we find five Africans, I promise I will send him a cake."

Toure played 319 matches over eight seasons with City. But he played just 17 matches this season for the Premier League champions, and he had to wait until the final home match against Brighton last month for his first league start of the campaign.

He was also left out of the League Cup final victory against Arsenal, despite having played in four of the previous ties in the competition.

"I think I was dealing with someone who just wanted to take revenge on me," added Toure, who is leaving City at the end of this month.

"Pep likes to dominate and wants to have obedient players who lick his hands. I do not like this kind of relationship. He is very rigid. The other players will never admit it publicly but some have already told me that they ended up hating him."

Toure joined City after three seasons at Barcelona where he had fallen out of favour after Guardiola took over as manager.

"There had already been some tensions," added Toure. "He knows that I speak Catalan, Spanish and English. It should be enough to communicate. But apparently no... Every time we passed each other, he seemed embarrassed. As if I made him a little self-conscious."

Guardiola, who will start next season's Champions League from the stands after being hit with a two-game touchline ban on Monday for protesting in the quarter-final second-leg loss against Liverpool, joined a ceremony at the end of the player's last game for the club, the 3-1 win over Brighton.

But Toure said: "I would have preferred to have no ceremony and leave with my head higher.

"I have the impression that Pep, without acknowledgement or respect, did everything to spoil my last season. He stole my farewells with City."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2018, with the headline 'Africans on Guardiola's blacklist, alleges Toure'. Print Edition | Subscribe