Yaya Touré: I want Manchester City to be bigger than Manchester United

• ‘I know it’s going to be a lot of work but that’s my dream’
• ‘I have won two Premier League titles and I want more, another new story’

Yaya Touré believes he is on a mission to make Manchester City bigger than Manchester United and hopes to remain at the Etihad Stadium until José Mourinho and the rest of the neighbours at Old Trafford have been fully eclipsed.

The 33-year-old midfielder becomes a free agent in the summer and Pep Guardiola concedes he is unsure whether Touré will remain part of his plans next season – but the Ivorian appears in no rush to leave. “I came to this club to make history,” said Touré, who after spending some time on the fringes of Guardiola’s squad, is back on centre stage. “I want this club to change, I want this club to be bigger than United. I know it’s going to be a lot of work but that’s my dream.”

With controversies surrounding Touré’s divisive agent, Dimitri Seluk, seemingly smoothed over and his fellow midfielder Ilkay Gündogan having sustained a serious knee injury, Guardiola appears set to be heavily reliant on a player he excluded from City’s squad for the group stages of the Champions League.

Touré could not be more delighted at the prospect of resuming his once-pivotal role between now and May – and perhaps for even longer. “I like the challenge, I love a challenge,” he said. “I want to make something very important. I have already won two Premier League titles and I want more than that, another new story.

“I feel 20 now,” he added, smiling. “My role is to keep the team moving, win the ball, organise, talk to the players, I have the experience. We are a team that wants to play football but sometimes you have to tell the players to be careful, especially on the counterattack.”

This desire to influence matters from the heart of the action made Touré’s time on the bench far from easy. “I belong on the field,” he said. “But even if I’m not playing I want to be at the stadium to watch. Even when I’m going home, I’m thinking about my football and what I did and how I played and what I could change. I always want to progress.

“Of course, I want to be involved but it depends on the manager. I will be fully prepared for any situation. I will give 100% for this club, for these fans. These fans are the only ones who always sing my name, who give happiness to my family. If I can do more for them I will do it. I always fight to make the team one step better.”

After working with Guardiola for two years at Barcelona, Touré has been intrigued to see how the 45-year-old is coping with the culture shock involved in transferring his coaching talents to English football. “I think he’s seen how difficult this league is physically but he’s a very intelligent guy, he understands football very well,” Touré said.

“He always has to win, to conquer a league, but he’s seen that here in England it’s complicated because, as we’ve said before, in England you need to be very strong in the second balls, and also the third and the first balls. The manager’s idea is that we have to be like Barcelona. It’s going to be difficult but with a lot of work we’ll continue that way.”


Louise Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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