Gnégnéri Yaya Touré (born 13 May 1983) is an Ivorian professional footballer who most recently played as a midfielder for Superleague Greece club Olympiacos. He played for and captained the Ivory Coast national team.
Touré in 2013
|Full name||Gnégnéri Yaya Touré|
|Date of birth||13 May 1983|
|Place of birth||Bouaké, Ivory Coast|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11 December|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15:07, 23 October 2018 (UTC)
Touré aspired to be a striker during his youth and has played centre back, including for Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final. However, he has spent the majority of his career as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country, where he has been regarded as one of the world's best players in his position. One of the greatest African players of all time, Touré was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Touré began his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas, where he made his debut at age 18. His performances attracted attention from Europe. He had stints with Beveren, Metalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos and Monaco before moving to Barcelona in 2007. He played over 70 matches for the club and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona side that won six trophies in a calendar year. In 2010, Touré moved to Premier League club Manchester City, where he scored a number of key goals, most notably the only goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final. He also helped City earn their first league title in 44 years.
Touré earned 100 caps for the Ivory Coast from 2004 to 2015, representing the nation at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also represented them in six Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, helping them finish runner-up in 2006 and 2012, while captaining them to victory in 2015. He is the younger brother of fellow footballer Kolo Touré, who was his teammate at Manchester City and on the national team.
Touré was born in Bouaké. joined the ASEC Mimosas youth academy in 1996 on the recommendation of his long-time mentor Patrick van Reijendam. A prominent figure in the ASEC academy was Jean-Marc Guillou. In 2001, Guillou invested heavily in a Belgian club, Beveren, with the aim of using the team to showcase Ivorian players in a European league. Touré moved to Beveren in 2001, one of many ASEC players to do so in this period. By 2003, he was one of 14 Ivorians in the Beveren squad.
In the summer of 2003, Touré had a trial with Arsenal. He started a pre-season friendly against Barnet on 19 July, playing as a second striker and then moving up front in the second half. Manager Arsène Wenger recognised his talent but could not decide on his best position and described his performance against Barnet as "completely average". The match finished 0–0 and the BBC Sport website said Touré, "[B]lotted his copy book by missing Arsenal's clearest chance of the game, heading a cross from Quincy Owusu-Abeyie wide." Wenger was still keen to sign the then 20-year-old but Touré had difficulties in receiving a work permit. Ultimately, Touré grew impatient and opted to sign for Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk in December 2003, where he spent one-and-a-half years.
Touré joined Olympiacos in 2005. He was described as "the new Patrick Vieira" by his older brother. Olympiacos won the double that season, and Touré was one of their key players. His performances in Greece were impressive and attracted interest from many clubs.
After representing Ivory Coast at the 2006 World Cup, Yaya Touré was signed by French Ligue 1 side Monaco in August 2006. However, he had a difficult relationship with the incumbent manager, László Bölöni, with Touré claiming Bölöni refused to play him in his preferred midfield position. Bölöni was soon sacked with Monaco languishing in the second-last position in the league table.
Laurent Banide replaced Bölöni and Touré subsequently became an influential player in the second half of the season, scoring five times to help haul the club out of relegation difficulties. He had established himself as a key midfielder, and with interest from around Europe he decided to join Barcelona in the summer of 2007.
In the 2007 Joan Gamper Trophy match against Inter Milan, Touré scored his first goal for Barcelona in the 5–0 victory. He scored his first official goal with Barcelona in a La Liga match against Athletic Bilbao on 2 September 2007, a 3–1 win. His first UEFA Champions League match for Barça was against Schalke 04 in the 2007–08 quarter-final, securing a 2–0 aggregate victory and a berth in the semi-final.
During the early stages of the 2008–09 season, newly appointed manager Pep Guardiola favoured Sergio Busquets in the defensive role of Barcelona's midfield trio. In the 2009 Champions League Final, Touré played at centre back due to injuries and suspensions of first-choice defenders, despite having only played there twice before for Barcelona. In late June 2010, Barcelona confirmed that Touré would be allowed to leave the club in the summer.
On 2 July 2010, Touré signed a five-year deal with Premier League club Manchester City for a fee of around £24 million. He was issued squad number 42, the reverse of the number 24 shirt he wore at Barcelona, since Patrick Vieira had already been allocated number 24. The move teamed Touré up with his elder brother Kolo, who signed for City in July 2009 from Arsenal.
On 28 July, Touré made his debut for City in a pre-season friendly against Club América, which City won 4–1 on penalties after a 1–1 draw with the Mexican side.[unreliable source?] In his home debut on 7 August, in a friendly against Valencia, he was named man of the match.
On 14 August 2010, Touré made his Premier League debut in a 0–0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. A week later, Touré impressed in the 3–0 defeat of Liverpool at Eastlands, forming a part of a three-man midfield with Gareth Barry and Nigel de Jong. On 19 September, Touré scored his first City goal, against Wigan Athletic.[unreliable source?] The goal was scored in the 70th minute and Touré was assisted by Carlos Tevez, who also scored in that match. Touré had been seen to take up a more attacking position under Roberto Mancini and revelled in the position. He scored a brilliant left-footed drive against West Ham United and soon scored a second, which was later credited as an own goal because the ball rebounded off the post onto goalkeeper Robert Green's back and bounced in.
Touré scored his third goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a delightful counter-attack move, with Touré making up 90 yards to latch onto the ball and fire it past the goalkeeper, with Manchester City eventually winning 4–3. Touré's fifth goal for City came on 25 February in a UEFA Europa League match against Aris. The goal was a deflected strike to make the score 3–0 to Manchester City. On 16 April 2011, Touré scored the only goal of the game in a Man of the Match performance against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. Touré continued his Wembley success by scoring the only goal in his side's 1–0 win over Stoke City in the 2011 FA Cup Final, ending Manchester City's 35-year wait for a major trophy, and writing himself into Manchester City folklore in the process.
The 2011–12 season began strongly as Manchester City led the table for the majority of the season, with Touré playing a vital part in midfield. His efforts were rewarded as he was crowned African Footballer of the Year for 2011, an impressive achievement for a midfielder, since the previous 12 awards have gone to African forwards.
On 3 January 2012, in a match against Liverpool, Touré scored City's second goal of the match, a 33rd-minute header from a David Silva corner. He was later fouled for the penalty that made the score 3–0 to City. On 5 January, it was announced Touré would be leaving to join the Ivorian national team for the Africa Cup of Nations and would miss City's FA Cup third round clash with fierce rivals Manchester United.
Commenting to Sky Sports News after being targeted by racist mobs throughout a UEFA Europa League tie at Porto in February 2012 (his first match back with City after the African Nations Cup), Touré spoke of his love for playing football in England: "That's why we like the Premier League, it never happens there."
As the 2011–12 came to close, Manchester City lost ground to Manchester United in the Premier League title race. After a defeat by Arsenal on 8 April 2012, an eight-point deficit had been established between City and leaders United, with most writing off City's chances of winning the league with six matches remaining.
However, City defeated West Bromwich Albion 4–0, Norwich City 6–1, and Wolverhampton Wanderers 2–0 with United slipping-up, meaning the deficit at the top was now only three points with only three matches to play. A victory against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium would move City to top on goal difference. The match was keenly anticipated as one of the most important matches the Premier League's 20-year history. Manchester City won the match, thanks to Vincent Kompany headed goal just before half-time. Touré's performance throughout the match garnered many plaudits in the media, describing his performance as "dominant" and "magnificent".
Touré scored a brace on 6 May in City's 2–0 win over Newcastle United, moving three points above Manchester United with one match left to play in the Premier League season. Touré played the full first half before coming off due to injury as City defeated Queens Park Rangers 3–2 on the final day of the season, assisting Pablo Zabaleta's opening goal in the 39th minute, to secure the first league championship for the Sky Blues in 44 years.
Touré started the 2012–13 season with a goal in the FA Community Shield in the 3–2 win over Chelsea in Aston Villa's stadium Villa Park. This goal was followed up by scoring first for City in two games, against Liverpool at Anfield and against Queens Park Rangers at home. In City's opening UEFA Champions League match of the season, away to Real Madrid, Touré produced a stellar individual performance, assisting an Edin Džeko goal and continually worrying the hosts. However, despite his best efforts, City lost 3–2 to a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal. He also scored in the Manchester derby, making it 2–1 to Manchester United, but City eventually lost 3–2. On 20 December 2012, Touré was crowned the 2012 African Player of the Year award at a ceremony in Accra, Ghana. It is the second time he has won the award. On 24 February 2013, after returning from the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Touré scored the opening goal as City beat Chelsea 2–0 in the Premier League.
On 4 April 2013, Touré signed a new contract with City, keeping him at the club until 2017.[unreliable source?] On 14 April, he was named Man of the Match as City again beat Chelsea, this time in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Touré scored his first goal of the 2013–14 season with a free-kick as City defeated Newcastle United 4–0 in their opening Premier League match. In City's second home match of the season, he scored in a similar fashion from a free-kick against Hull City. His form continued with a goal from distance in the UEFA Champions League group match against Viktoria Plzeň on 17 September 2013. On 22 September, he scored the second goal in a 4–1 derby win over Manchester United and was named Man of the Match. His scoring streak continued when he scored direct from a free kick against Wigan Athletic in the third round of the League Cup. On 2 November, he scored again from a direct free-kick, this time in a 7–0 victory against Norwich City. The goal was his fifth in the league and seventh overall. Then-City manager Manuel Pellegrini noted at the time that Touré regularly stayed behind after training to improve his free-kick technique.
On 23 October 2013, Touré was the subject of racist abuse from CSKA Moscow supporters at the Arena Khimki in the group stage of the Champions League. On 2 December 2013, Touré was named the 2013 BBC African Footballer of the Year.
On 4 December 2013, Touré scored twice for Manchester City in a 3–2 win at West Bromwich Albion. This took his tally of league goals to seven, his highest in a single Premier League season.
On 2 March 2014, Touré scored the equalising goal for Manchester City in the 2014 League Cup final against Sunderland. The match ended in a 3–1 win for Manchester City. On 22 March 2014, he scored the first hat-trick in his career in a 5–0 win over Fulham at Etihad Stadium.[unreliable source?] Touré scored the third goal for Manchester City on 25 March 2014 in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, powering City to a 3–0 victory over their local rivals. On 13 April 2014, Touré suffered a groin injury and was substituted after just 19 minutes of a 3–2 defeat to Liverpool.[unreliable source?]
On 7 May, Touré scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season in a 4–0 defeat of Aston Villa, becoming only the second midfielder to score 20 goals in a Premier League season, after Frank Lampard. His performances helped City to a second Premier League title in three years.
On 20 May, Touré's agent posted on Twitter that he had become unhappy at Manchester City due to the time it took City to give him a new deal in 2013 and was upset that no-one from the club wished him happy birthday. His agent, Dimitri Seluk, told BBC Sport that Toure was "very upset" and could leave City. Although he initially denied these rumours on Twitter, Touré later tweeted, "Everything Dimitri said is true. He speaks for me. I will explain after the World Cup."[unreliable source?]
On 5 November 2014, in a home UEFA Champions League group fixture against CSKA Moscow, Touré scored City's equaliser in the eighth minute after his compatriot Seydou Doumbia had taken under two minutes to put CSKA ahead. City were already 1–2 down and had Fernandinho sent off when Touré was dismissed for shoving Roman Eremenko. The result put City into last place in their group.
On 1 March 2015, Touré started the Premier League match against Liverpool and his brother Kolo came on as an 83rd-minute substitute, marking the first time the two brothers faced each other in a competitive match.
Although he played in the second leg of the Champions League play-off against Steaua București, Guardiola opted to omit Touré from City's Champions League squad. Touré's agent, Dimitri Seluk, subsequently stated that Guardiola humiliated Touré by omitting him for the first team. In response, Guardiola said Touré would not be included in the team until he receives an apology. A few weeks after a public apology to Guardiola on behalf of his agent, Touré made a surprising return to the first team on 16 November, starting against Crystal Palace in which he scored two goals to earn City a 2–1 away win.
Return to Olympiacos
Toure re-signed for Superleague Greece club Olympiacos on 2 September 2018. His contract with Olympiacos was terminated in December 2018 by mutual agreement. In April 2019 he said he was not considering retirement.
Touré has been a regular member of the Ivory Coast national team since his debut in 2004. In 2014, he was named captain of the team after the retirement of Didier Drogba. In February 2015, he won his 100th international cap in a 0–0 draw with Cameroon.[unreliable source?]
In 2006, Touré appeared for les Éléphants in all three of the team's matches at its first ever World Cup. In the 2010 tournament, he again appeared in all of the Ivory Coast's matches, scoring the opening goal in a 3–0 win over North Korea. Touré made his third World Cup appearance during the 2014 competition, and captained the team in their opening match – a 2–1 defeat of Japan in which he was named man of the match by FIFA.
Touré has represented the Ivory Coast at six Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015; ending as runners-up in the 2006 and 2012 editions, and winners in 2015. Touré was named in the CAF's team of the tournament in 2008, 2012 and 2015. On 4 February 2015, Touré scored the opening goal in the Ivory Coast's 3–1 semi-final victory over DR Congo to qualify les Éléphants for their third Africa Cup of Nations Final in nine years. On 8 February, Touré captained the Ivory Coast to its first AFCON win since 1992 with a penalty shootout defeat of Ghana at the Estadio de Bata in Equatorial Guinea.
Style of play
Formerly a defender, Yaya Touré plays primarily in the centre as a box-to-box midfielder, often switching between offensive and defensive stances throughout matches. Touré is a complete and versatile midfielder,[unreliable source?] who can play in several midfield positions, is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world.[unreliable source?] His key strengths are his passing range, vision and physical ability. He is gifted with good technique and ball control, although he also excels defensively at breaking down opposing attacking plays and winning back possession through his powerful tackling ability. He is known for his pace, stamina and physical presence, which is often combined with lungbursting runs from midfield, and he has been referred to as a "human train" and a "colossus" by various pundits.[unreliable source?] Touré is frequently pushed forward during the latter part of matches, most notably in the penultimate match of the 2011–12 season against Newcastle United where Touré scored two late goals to win the match, and put Manchester City at the top of the league. He is also capable of scoring goals due to his powerful striking ability from distance, and his heading ability, as well as his recently developed adeptness at scoring from set-pieces and penalties.[unreliable source?]
Touré has in his repertoire an unusual method of striking the ball, referred to by Norwegian Alexander Tettey as a "Yaya", and described by BBC's Pat Nevin as a way of striking the ball with a far back area of the foot close to the heel, allowing the ball to move in a straight line which a goalkeeper can find hard to read.
Touré is the younger brother of Kolo Touré, who was his teammate at Beveren, Manchester City and the Ivorian national team. Their younger brother Ibrahim Touré was also a footballer, who died on 19 June 2014 at the age of 28 after a short battle with cancer. Touré is Muslim.
On 13 December 2016, Touré pleaded guilty to drunk driving. He was arrested by police on 28 November after being pulled over and found to be more than twice over the legal driving limit. Touré said he had not "intentionally consumed alcohol", explaining to the court he had consumed diet cola from a jug at a party without realising there was brandy in it. He conceded that his drink tasted "odd" and that he felt tired after consuming it, but did not suspect he was drunk. Judge Gary Lucy said it was "inconceivable" that he was unaware that he was drinking alcohol. Touré was banned from driving for 18 months, and was fined £54,000 – at the time the largest fine for drink driving in British legal history.
Awards and nominations
Touré was nominated in the Personality of the Year category at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards. In July 2014, Touré was nominated for Prize in Entertainment at the 2014 The Future Africa Awards. In December 2015, Touré won the BBC African Footballer of the Year on a public vote for the second time, after leading the Ivory Coast to victory in the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
- As of match played 21 October 2018
|Club||Season||League||National Cup[a]||League Cup[b]||Europe||Other||Total|
|Beveren||2001–02||Belgian First Division||28||0||—||—||—||28||0|
|2002–03||Belgian First Division||30||3||—||—||—||30||3|
|2003–04||Belgian First Division||12||0||—||—||—||12||0|
|Metalurh Donetsk||2003–04||Vyshcha Liha||11||1||—||—||—||11||1|
|Manchester City||2010–11||Premier League||35||6||7||3||0||0||8[f]||1||—||51||10|
- Includes Copa del Rey, FA Cup and Greek Football Cup
- Includes Coupe de la Ligue and League Cup/EFL Cup
- Appearances in UEFA Cup
- Appearances in UEFA Champions League
- Two appearances in Supercopa de España, one in UEFA Super Cup, two in FIFA Club World Cup
- Appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
- Six appearances and three goals in UEFA Champions League, three appearances in UEFA Europa League
- Appearance in FA Community Shield
- As of match played 29 March 2015
- As of match played 29 March 2015. Ivory Coast score listed first, score column indicates score after each Touré goal.
- La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10
- Copa del Rey: 2008–09
- Supercopa de España: 2009
- UEFA Champions League: 2008–09
- UEFA Super Cup: 2009
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2009
- Premier League: 2011–12, 2013–14, 2017–18
- FA Cup: 2010–11
- Football League Cup: 2013–14, 2015–16
- FA Community Shield: 2012
- Ivory Coast Player of the Year: 2009
- African Footballer of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- CAF Team of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- ESM Team of the Year: 2013–14
- PFA Team of the Year: 2011–12 Premier League, 2013–14 Premier League
- BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2013, 2015 
- FIFA FIFPro World XI 2nd team: 2013, 2014, 2015
- Manchester City Player of the Year: 2013–14
- Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament: 2015
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