Four-time African footballer of the year and Manchester City midfielder, Yaya Toure has announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Ivorian said it had been an incredibly difficult decision. He said:
“Writing this note was probably ‘the most difficult match of my life. After 14 years at the highest level, I’m sure this is the right time for me! The fact that I am 33 now, the intensity of training and the multitude of games are not the reasons why I am making this decision.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, has however said he will not pick Toure until he apologises to the club and his team-mates for comments made by his agent.
Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, had said the midfielder had been “humiliated” and Guardiola should apologise to him if City does not win the competition.
Toure who has made one appearance for City this season was left out of the Champions League squad. Pep said it had been a difficult decision to leave Toure out of his European squad but made it clear: “He must apologise. If he doesn’t, he won’t play.”
“A manager has to make his job,” said Guardiola, who was Barcelona boss when Toure was sold to City in 2010.
“If he has a problem, he should speak to people at the club,” he added.
He added Toure, who returned to training on Monday after a migraine, had not had the “courage” to call him.
Yaya Toure made his debut for the Ivory Coast in 2004 and has played in all three of Ivory Coast’s World Cup appearances, in 2006, 2010 and 2014, as well as played in six African Nations Cups — when they were runners-up in 2006 and 2012.
So far he has won 113 international caps and won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015. The former Barcelona player was named in the African Nations Cup team of the tournament in 2008, 2012 and 2015, and was African Footballer of the Year on four consecutive occasions from 2011.