Belfast Telegraph

Toure's apology is so crucial for City, says Guardiola

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola has described an apology from Yaya Toure on behalf of his agent as "so important for Manchester City". City boss Guardiola has refused to pick Toure since his representative Dimitri Seluk claimed the midfielder had been "humiliated" by his omission from the Champions League squad early in September.

Guardiola demanded that Seluk apologise but, with that not forthcoming, Toure took matters into his own hands yesterday in an attempt to end the impasse.

"I wish to apologise - on behalf of myself and those who represent me - to the management team and all those working at the club for the misunderstandings from the past," the 33-year-old wrote on Facebook.

"Those statements do not represent my views on the club or the people who work there. I have nothing but respect for Manchester City and only wish the best for the football club.

"I am immensely proud to have played a part in the club's history and want to help City succeed further. I live to play football and entertain the fans.

"On that note, I would like to thank all of the fans for their messages through this difficult period. This means a great deal to me and my family."

Guardiola says he appreciates the apology and appears willing to offer an olive branch.

Speaking at a press conference to preview today's Premier League clash with Middlesbrough, Guardiola said: "I spoke with Yaya, a private conversation. I know what happened and what he said.

"It is so important for Manchester City, that is the most important thing, and of course for Yaya, who I appreciate and have known from a long time ago."

Guardiola did not say whether he would start picking Toure again - having only selected him once in five games prior to the stand-off - but implied he would be ready if called upon. Toure has continued to work with the squad throughout his exile.

Guardiola said: "Yaya is in all our meetings and training sessions. Nothing has changed."

Whether this proves to be the end of the matter, however, remains to be seen as Toure's apology did not appear to have met with Seluk's approval.

The Ukrainian said: "I'm not apologising. We want peace, but I'm not apologising. For what? Maybe Toure has apologised, but I don't know for what. I think Yaya doesn't mean this."

Seluk has a history of courting controversy. The latest row erupted when Toure was left out of Guardiola's 25-man squad for the Champions League, with City limited to 17 overseas players.

Seluk claimed Toure had been humiliated. He did not back down when asked to apologise and fanned the flames by accusing Guardiola of treating players "like dogs".

Belfast Telegraph


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