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FROM COTE D’IVOIRE STREETS TO THE CITY OF MANCHESTER

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“Winning the ­Champions League was why I came to City. God willing, it will happen because that is what this club was working towards when they signed players like Kun Aguero and David Silva.” In an interview with Mirror(UK), this is what City‘s powerhouse and main man(most of you should agree) had to say when asked about what his plans were with the club that seems to be taking over the throne at Manchester. As humble as he might portray himself to be, or genuinely be for that matter, there’s no denying the fact that Gnegneri Yaya Toure is the biggest reason behind Manchester City’s rise to success over the past few years. Its true that signing players of the likes of Silva, Kompany and Aguero(and the club owners’ bank accounts too) helped City a lot in their look-out for success. But today if someone comes up to me talking about this club, Toure is the first name that comes to my mind. That’s the influence the Ivorian midfielder has, not only on his club’s image but on the entire footballing world which includes the respect of true football fans.

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Yaya Toure started his career as a professional footballer in Europe after being noticed while he played for his boyhood youth academy in Ivory Coast. He was signed by Belgian side, Beveren. But before this, the big man from Ivory lived a life completely different from what it is today- without money, without a proper place to live in and no football shoes to play in proper conditions, leave alone the best. The only things about his life that remain unchanged are his exceptional skills in the game and his everlasting crave for more success. In an interview with Dailymail(UK), Toure’s Beveren team-mate, Anouar Bou-Sfia said how even after being signed by the European club, Yaya Toure still wasn’t financially strong enough to travel to the stadium by himself or buy himself a new pair of shoes. He was assisted by Anouar most of his time at Beveren. What Anouar knew like most who knew Yaya Toure  then was that this man was going to be one of the greatest footballers of his time, capable of affording any form of transport he wanted to and any number of shoes he pleased to. Eventually, that did happen. According to Forbes, as of this date, Yaya Toure‘s  annual net worth is $20.7 Million. This ranks him 67th on Forbe’s 100 richest athletes, beating the likes of Serena Williams, Kaka and Sebastian Vettel.

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After his two-year spell at Beveren, Toure  enjoyed good runs of form atMetalurh Donetsk, Olympiacos and AS Monaco before joining Barcelonain 2007. At this stage, the Spanish giants had to pay Monaco €10 Million($13.7 Million) for the player who would go on to win 8 major trophies under then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola. However, Yaya Toure departed FC Barcelona under mutual conclusions that the Ivorian holding-midfielder wasn’t given as much time on the pitch as he wanted, and very well deserved.

In July 2010, Toure joined Big money-spending, Manchester based club-Manchester City for €29 Million($39.74 Million). The man who played barefoot on Ivorian streets now took the centre stage(he literally did by being the main holding-midfielder) at Manchester City, a club that he led to win the English Premier League after 44 years and ending the obvious dominance of Manchester United. At Manchester City, the great Ivorian footballer only got better and better as he played through each season. Don’t be surprised if Yaya Toure is named the PFA Player of the Year this season.

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When you talk about a perfect attacker in the game, Cristiano Ronaldo is the first player in our lips. A lot might disagree, but definitely before Lionel Messi. And when I write perfect attacker, I do so by considering his pace, strength, physique and not just his ball-striking ability. Just like I consider Toure to be the perfect midfielder in the game. He can run like Forrest Gump and stay as strong as Hulk while he’s at it. He’s a beautiful passer of the ball, and his vision and mentality only seems to get better. What else? He can also score some INSANE goals! I’m a Barcelona fan, and I’d obviously hope that we win the Champions’ League every season we’re in it. But that Toure hopes to win the trophy with Manchester City comes as no surprise to me. Manchester City are very well capable of doing it. And Yaya Toure is very well capable of doing it for them.

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