Yaya Toure’s agent hits back as Pep Guardiola demands an apology: ‘What do I need to apologise for?’
Yaya Toure’s agent became embroiled in an extraordinary war of words with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Tuesday.
Guardiola has said the midfielder will not play for him again until his representative, Dimitri Seluk, apologises for recent remarks in the press.
But Seluk, who claimed Guardiola had humiliated Toure by leaving him out of City’s Uefa Champions League squad, has said it is the Spaniard who should be saying sorry.
• Premier League Team of the Week: Algeria star, Liverpool’s leading pair, Manchester City’s Messi-esque midfielder
Seluk listed a string of complaints against City’s manager, including the manner in which he succeeded Manuel Pellegrini in the summer and then replaced goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Seluk told Sky Sports News: “Guardiola wins a few games and he thinks he is king. I live in Europe so I can say whatever I like and Guardiola cannot stop me.
“I will apologise to Guardiola if he will apologise to Pellegrini for what he did to him. If you are a gentleman this just does not happen.
“He [Pellegrini] signed a new contract last year then he gets pushed out for Guardiola to come in. Pellegrini was a gentleman.
“Guardiola also needs to apologise to Joe Hart. It’s not right to come to England and then get rid of a few English players.”
Seluk has a long history of making contentious remarks backing his client. The most famous came in 2014 when he claimed City showed Toure a lack of respect on his 31st birthday, not even giving him a cake.
He spoke up again earlier this month when Guardiola made the decision not to include the player, who he previously coached at Barcelona, in his 25-man squad for the Champions League group stages.
This action was widely perceived as the latest indicator that Toure, who is now in the final year of his contract, does not feature in Guardiola’s plans.
The 33-year-old Ivorian has appeared just once in City’s eight games this season and did not even make the bench for the other seven.
It is now apparent this was more than just a tactical decision.
Speaking at a press conference to preview Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie at Swansea City, in which it was assumed Toure could feature, Guardiola said: “It was so difficult for me to put him out of the Champions League, so difficult. I know him, I know he’s a good, good guy, but the list is the list.
“But the day after, his manager [Seluk] spoke. In that moment Yaya is out. I accept if Mr Dimitri Seluk came in a press conference or [spoke to] his friends in the media – because he has not the courage to call me – and apologised to Manchester City, his teammates and the trainer. When that happens Yaya will be part of the group and he will have the same chance to play all the games.
“I cannot accept as a coach, every manager when his player doesn’t play, going to the media to speak and speak and speak.”
It does not seem Seluk is prepared to accept this and feels Guardiola has shown Toure a lack of respect.
In further comments broadcast on Sky Sports News, Seluk said: “When Yaya came to Manchester City, they could only dream about the Champions League. The biggest stars in Europe did not want to come to City but Yaya came. They weren’t a big club.
“After he arrived, they started winning: two league titles, cups and now the semis of the Champions League.
“I want Manchester City to win everything, to win all their games because it means more trophies for Yaya.
“Guardiola wants a new future for Yaya, for Hart, and they won’t be the last.
“I respect managers like [Claudio] Ranieri, who achieve without spending so much money on players.”
He added: “Well, what do I need to apologise for?”
Guardiola appears to be incredulous at the role of Seluk and will not tolerate any interference from outside.
The City manager said: “I cannot imagine in my period when I was a football player, my manager going to the media and speaking against Johan Cruyff, about this and about that.
“Maybe it’s a new era now, the new period changing, but I’m an old guy. I am old generation, and old generation managers have to make his players his job and trainers his job.
“Today the managers believe they are more than they are. If he has a problem call [director of football] Txiki Begiristain, the club, and they can talk. Until he doesn’t speak, Yaya is not going to play.”
The row overshadowed Toure’s decision, announced via social media, to retire from international football with Ivory Coast.
Guardiola also revealed captain Vincent Kompany, out since May with a thigh injury, could return at the Liberty Stadium.
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Published: September 20, 2016 04:00 AM