Kevin De Bruyne backs Pep Guardiola in Yaya Touré racism row

• Belgium midfielder dismisses claims against Man City manager
• ‘When you don’t play there’s always something you try to find’

Kevin De Bruyne has dismissed concerns from his former Manchester City team-mate Yaya Touré over Pep Guardiola’s attitude towards African players, insisting the manager is not racist.

The Ivory Coast midfielder, who left City in May after eight years at the club, accused Guardiola of “having a problem with African players” in an interview with France Football, also claiming the manager had ruined his final season in Manchester. But De Bruyne said he had not seen any evidence of Touré’s claims during his time at City and believes the 35-year-old’s frustration at his lack of game-time may have played a part in his accusations.

“I never saw something. It would be weird if the trainer was racist – with all the black guys in our team,” De Bruyne told BBC World Football.

“So I don’t know what Yaya said or if it’s wrongly written or exaggerated. When you don’t play there’s always something you try to find.”

De Bruyne added: “We had the best season ever, so in the end the coach took the right decision to play with the team who played a lot. This year the trainer probably thought he [Yaya] wasn’t doing enough, wasn’t fit enough. I’ve never seen something racist at the club, ever.”

Earlier on Tuesday Guardiola had refused to comment when asked to respond to the accusations. “I am not going to talk about the words of Yaya Touré,” he said.

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But Touré’s agent continued the offensive by saying that his client would practically play for free for a top six Premier League club against Guardiola.

“Yaya has received many offers from different countries, big money offers, but we have decided to devote the next season to Guardiola,” Dimitri Seluk told sport24 .

“To proving to the Manchester City fans that Yaya is not finished with football. He is full of strength and energy and wants to play in England this season.

“At a time when English clubs are spending huge sums of money on players, I officially declare that Yaya is ready to move to any top-six English club as a free agent with a salary of £1 per week. As long as a success-based bonus system is in place.”

Contributor

Ed Aarons

The GuardianTramp

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