LONDON (AFP) - Ivory Coast star midfielder Yaya Toure tells the BBC on Saturday that he is fully committed to English champions Manchester City and wants above all to win the Champions League for them.
The 31-year-old - who has been an integral part of City's domestic success since he signed from Barcelona for £24 million (S$48 million) in 2010 - was responding to criticism of his below-par performance in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat by German champions Bayern Munich in their opening Champions League group match.
Toure, who has never been one to hold back when he feels he has been slighted as he illustrated in May when he said City had shown him a lack of respect for not buying him a birthday cake, said the fans and not the pundits were the people he was interested in. "I know the fans love me; they are always good to me," said Toure, who won the 2009 Champions League with Barcelona. "My target now is the Champions League. I want to win it for them."
Toure, who last year agreed a four-year contract extension tying him to City until 2017, received the backing from club manager Manuel Pellegrini.
"Maybe he had a lot of personal problems with his brother," said the Chilean referring to the death of his 28-year-old brother Ibrahim from cancer in June while he and another brother Kolo were at the World Cup finals.
"There are a lot of human things and maybe that is why he is not in his best performance at the moment.
"As a team, as a coach, as a club we must support him because he is a very important player, he makes a difference and I'm sure he will return to his best. But he is always being criticised."