Yaya Toure is grateful for Pep Guardiola’s tough love and wants to sign a new contract at Manchester City.
Toure was exiled from the City first team during the opening months of Guardiola’s tenure at the Etihad Stadium, having reported back for pre-season training overweight before being left out of the squad for the Champions League group stages – prompting a public spat between his agent Dimitri Seluk and the ex-Barcelona boss.
A thaw in relations in November saw Toure mark his return to the fold with both goals in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace and he has since been one of City’s most consistent performers, reprising the deep-lying midfield role he starred in under Guardiola at Camp Nou.
There has still been no let-up for the 33-year-old, who is one of six senior City players out of contract at the end of the season, with Guardiola revealing he criticised him in front of team-mates after the 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Middlesbrough last weekend.
Toure was an unused substitute as the Premier League side crashed out of the Champions League at Monaco in midweek but a player who capped his first season in Manchester with the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final believes he has more to offer City.
“In my first press conference, I told the media I came to City to achieve, to make a story and to be a big part of this club,” he told Sky Sports.
“When I look back it is something that is very important for me. If I have to leave City I want to leave with something very, very important.
“We know what we want, the fans as well, the club, the chairman, and what I have to do is my best, try to achieve everything and to help this club for as long as possible.
“The day I will be done, I’ll know myself. I know my body and I’ll say, ‘Yes, I’m done’.”
Asked whether this meant he wanted a new deal, Toure added: “Definitely. I love this football club.”
Toure explained he retained a dialogue with Guardiola throughout his absence from the first-team and credited the 46-year-old’s honest approach for bringing about an upturn in form following a lacklustre 2015-16 under Manuel Pellegrini.
“Last year I was overweight, it was a difficult situation, there were a lot of problems with my family,” he said.
“I was talking with him most of the time and people were not seeing that on the screen. Those talks will stay between him and me. He knows what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.
“Like he said, he’s been honest with me. He is the guy that pushed me up, made me come back and that’s why I’m feeling respectful with him and that’s why I want to show him he was right.”
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