YAYA TOURE has announced his retirement from football and now has his heart set on going into coaching – just weeks after saying he wants to continue playing.
The former Barcelona and Manchester City legend, 35, will hang up his boots after a stellar career spanning 17 years which saw him win 13 major trophies in Greece, Spain and England.
The star won the Super League Greece and Greek Cup in 2006 and then two La Ligas, a Copa del Rey, the Champions League and the Club World Cup at the Nou Camp.
He arrived at Manchester City in 2010 and was one of the catalysts for their domestic success over the past decade, helping them to three Premier Leagues and two League Cups.
But it was his winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final – City’s first major trophy for 35 years – that opened the floodgates.
He stuck with the club for eight years – despite them not celebrating his birthday – and he went on to score 79 goals in 316 appearances before being given the farewell he deserved at the end of last season.
On the international stage, Toure guided his Ivory Coast side to the African Cup of Nations in 2015 and was named African Footballer of the Year four times in a row between 2011 and 2014.
Most recently, he endured a horror spell at Olympiacos, returning to the club 12 years after leaving for Monaco but made just five appearances before his contract was terminated by mutual agreement in December.
In April, he told Canal+ he is not considering retirement, believing he still had “another two or three years” left in the tank.
Yaya is one of the best players in Africa and had one of the brightest careers in the history of African football
But his agent Dimitri Seluk confirmed the news of the retirement to Russian website Sport 24.
He said: “Yaya has decided to end his career as a champion.
“The farewell match which Manchester City gave him was, in principle, the real end of his playing career, not only in that team, but in general.
“Yaya is one of the best players in Africa and had one of the brightest careers in the history of African football, so should leave football at its peak. We talked for a long time on this topic.
“Of course every footballer wants to play as long as possible and in terms of his physical condition Yaya could do this at a sufficiently high level for another five years.
“But we came to the conclusion that he, the footballer who played for Barcelona and Manchester City, could not lower the bar.”
Toure now looks set to embark on following the path into management and could start in Russia.
Seluk added: “In football it is important to come and go with your head held high.
“We remembered how at the age of 18, when Yaya was unknown to anyone, he began his football destiny from scratch, arriving in Belgium, and then going to Ukraine.
“Likewise, he now starts his fate from scratch and tries to become a good coach.
“I am sure that he will succeed, because he played the position in which he organised the attacks of his team. Yaya went through such clubs as Olympiacos, Monaco, Barcelona and Manchester City, where he worked with good coaches, from whom he learned a lot.
“I’m sure that two years after Yaya gets the Pro coaching license, he will head one of the serious clubs and achieve great success in the coaching field. Now he has already begun to take steps in this direction.”