Yaya Touré apologises to Manchester City for ‘misunderstandings’

• Midfielder has been frozen out by manager Pep Guardiola
• ‘Those statements do not represent my views on the club’

Yaya Touré has apologised to Manchester City “for the misunderstandings from the past” as the midfielder attempts to resurrect his career at the Etihad Stadium.

Touré has been frozen out by Pep Guardiola after comments from his agent, Dimitri Seluk, criticising the manager after he was omitted from City’s Champions League squad. The former Ivory Coast international, who played for Guardiola at Barcelona before being sold to City in 2010, has yet to feature for the club in the Premier League this season, with his only appearance coming in the second leg of the Champions League play-off against Steaua Bucharest, into which City took a 5-0 lead from the trip to Romania.

Touré’s omission from the 25-man squad for the competition proper led the outspoken Seluk to criticise Guardiola, questioning whether he had “the balls to say that he was wrong to humiliate a great player like Yaya” should City not win the Champions League. Guardiola then insisted Touré would not play for him again unless Seluk apologised for his comments and on Friday the four-times African Player of the Year moved to make peace with a statement on his website.

Guardiola issues ultimatum to Yaya Touré’s agent

“I wish to apologise – on behalf of myself and those who represent me – to the management team and all those working at the club for the misunderstandings from the past,” read the statement.

“Those statements do not represent my views on the club or the people who work there. I have nothing but respect for Manchester City and only wish the best for the football club. I am immensely proud to have played a part in the club’s history and want to help City succeed further. I live to play football and entertain the fans.

“On that note, I would like to thank all of the fans for their messages through this difficult period. This means a great deal to me and my family.”

In response, Guardiola said he appreciated the apology but refused to be drawn on whether the 33-year-old could be welcomed back into the fold. He said: “I spoke with Yaya today. Of course it is a private conversation. I know what happened and what he says. Of course it is so important for Manchester City, that is the most important thing, and of course for Yaya, who I appreciate and have known from a long time ago.”

Guardiola added: “Yaya is in all our meetings and training sessions. You knew the situation, nothing has changed.”

Touré has been told he is free to join any Premier League club in January but it remains to be seen whether he features for City again. Seluk, despite initially hinting that he was ready to make peace with Guardiola, appeared to backtrack on those comments on Friday morning.

Asked to follow his client’s lead and say sorry for his comments, the Ukrainian responded: “I’m not apologising. We want peace, but I’m not apologising. Apologise for what? Maybe Touré has apologised for this, but I don’t know for what. I think Yaya doesn’t mean this. He wants peace between him and Guardiola.

“A lot of supporters want to see Yaya on the field and Yaya wants to help Manchester City get good results,” he added. “A player like Yaya, one of the top players in the world who has a very big salary, normally does not stay out of the team. He must play.

“We want to make peace between Guardiola, Yaya and me for the supporters, the team and for the results. For Manchester City, the fans and for football, it is important Yaya plays because he is a top player. We will see about the future, but most important we make steps to each other. Guardiola must now do the next step, because we make a step from our side to make peace.

“Yaya has won two titles and this team is in his heart. He is a legend in the history of this club. Now we say nothing. We’ve made our steps now and we will see what Guardiola will do.”


Ed Aarons

The GuardianTramp

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