LONDON: Yaya Toure has questioned whether Pep Guardiola has a bias against African players and accused the Manchester City coach of being “cruel” to him, according to an interview with France Football.
Toure, 35, played his final game for City last month after eight seasons at the club, with his farewell match against Brighton his only Premier League start of the season.
And the Ivory Coast international hit out at his former coach in an interview to be published on Tuesday with the title, “Yaya Toure: ‘I want to be the one who destroys the Guardiola myth.'”
“He was cruel towards me,” Toure said in excerpts released on Monday. “Do you really think that he would have been able to do that with [Andres] Iniesta at Barcelona? It reached the point where I asked myself if it was because of my colour.
“I am not the first, either. Other Barca players asked the question too. It may be that we Africans are not always treated the same by certain people. When you realise that [Guardiola] has often had problems with Africans wherever he has been, I ask myself questions…”
Asked if he thought Guardiola had problems with players of color, Toure said: “He pretends not to have — he is too intelligent. He will never admit it. However, the day he fields a team with five Africans, non-naturalised, I promise that I will send him a cake!”
Toure previously played for Guardiola at Barcelona from 2008 to 2010 but left for Manchester City only to be reunited with the Catalan coach six years later.
Toure made only 17 appearances in all competitions last season, starting four games in the League Cup and three in the Champions League, and he said he was frustrated in trying to understand why he was often left on the bench.
“I have tried to understand — I politely asked the fitness staff for my statistics and when I discovered that they were as good, sometimes even better, across training session and matches, than those who were playing and younger than me, I understood that this was not a physical question,” Toure said.
“I do not know why but I get the impression that [Guardiola] was jealous of me. He saw me as a rival, as if I was taking the limelight away from him.”
Toure had a falling out with Guardiola at the beginning of last season after losing his starting place, but said in May that they had “sorted it out” over the course of the season.
Ahead of Toure’s final start, Guardiola credited him with making the club “big and bigger and bigger and without doubt he was one of the most important players in our history.”
Also on Monday, UEFA suspended Guardiola for City’s first Champions League game next season for his reaction towards the referee in the quarterfinals in April.