Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitri Seluk has warned Pep Guardiola of an ‘African curse’ following his client’s sensational accusation that the Manchester City manager does not like picking African footballers.
Toure left City at the end of the season after eight trophy-laden years. But in his final campaign his relationship with Guardiola deteriorated and he made only one Premier League start.
In an interview with a French football magazine, the 35-year-old made the extraordinary suggestion that he was being discriminated against by Guardiola on racial grounds.
‘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.’
Now, in an lengthy interview with Russian outlet Sport24, Seluk has warned the City boss of an ‘African curse’ and insisted Toure would be happy to play for another club in the Premier League’s top six for a lowly wage of £1 per-week.
‘Yaya knows Guardiola like no other,’ he said. ‘He worked with him both in Barcelona and in Manchester City. With all the desire, nothing good about the human qualities of Guardiola can be said.
‘God sees everything. As a man who acted with Yaya, the legend of the club, which under different pretexts did not give the opportunity to go on the field. He turned all Africa against himself, many African fans turned away from Manchester City.
‘And I’m sure that many African shamans in the future will not allow Guardiola to win the Champions League. This will be for Guardiola an African curse. Life will show whether I am right or not.’
Toure played under Guardiola at Barcelona, winning the Champions League in 2009 as well as two league titles and a Spanish Cup. However, the two men never looked at ease with each other when Guardiola succeeded Manuel Pellegrini at City two summers ago.
Seluk bemoaned how the Spaniard first came to the Etihad Stadium and claimed he announced his arrival early purely to disrupt Pellegrini’s final season at the helm.
‘You can start with the fact that he came to Manchester City in a nasty manner. The transfer was announced at a time when Pellegrini, his co-worker in the coaching department, was still at the helm of the team,’ he added.
‘Guardiola was afraid that Pellegrini would win the championship and other tournaments that season, as he did before he came to Bayern Munich, when Jupp Heynckes won all that is possible. Guardiola could not repeat the achievements of Heynckes, being the next three years at the helm of the best German club, which without Guardiola again leads and wins.
‘What did Guardiola achieve? In two years he won the same as Mancini or Pellegrini. And Pellegrini reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, and Guardiola – not yet. Manchester City has now extended the contract with him for three years.
‘I bet that Guardiola will not win the Champions League during this time, no matter how much money he has spent, but he likes to do it. When only £200million is spent on the line of defence, when money is not counted…
‘Perhaps, many will say that this is the style of Guardiola, that he plays enchanting football. Only when you buy all the best players in the world, it’s much easier than, for example, in the case of (Claudio) Ranieri, who won the Premier League with Leicester.’
As a free agent, Seluk insisted the veteran could still be of use to the other members of the Premier League’s top six and claimed next season will be focused on proving Guardiola wrong.
‘Now Yaya has many offers from different countries, where they are ready to pay a lot of money, but we decided to dedicate the next season to Guardiola. And to prove and show the fans of Manchester City that Yaya is not finished with football. He is full of energy and wants to play this season in England,’ he said.
‘At a time when huge sums are being spent in England for the purchase of football players, I officially declare that Yaya is ready to move as a free agent to any English club in the top six with a salary of £1 a week – but for certain successes to make a bonus system.
‘I believe that a player like Yaya would not harm Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool. Yaya – the winner. And never before has a top footballer with leadership qualities harmed any club, especially when it is not necessary to pay for it.’
Manchester City declined to comment on Monday night.