An Ode To Yaya Toure, A Manchester City Great

An Ode To Yaya Toure, A Manchester City Great
14:49, 06 May 2018

With only 20 minutes remaining in the penultimate game of the season, Manchester City were struggling against a resolute Newcastle side who themselves were chasing Champions League football.

Days earlier Vincent Kompany’s dramatic header had sealed a victory against rivals Manchester United that put City two wins from their first league title in 44 years.

And then in a moment, as if he personally had seen enough of his side labouring against a decent, but much poorer opponent in Newcastle, Yaya Toure did what Yaya Toure does.

Picking up the ball about 40 yards from goal he turns and with a nonchalant flick plays it into Sergie Aguero’s feet who returns it to him.

At this point, Newcastle’s skipper Fabricio Coloccini and goalkeeper Tim Krul know exactly what is coming as Toure angles his body, about 30 yards from goal.

Then, with what would become trademark precision, Toure side foots a perfect shot into Krul’s bottom left corner to put City on the brink. That was Yaya Toure. Always there when needed with an answer.

His agent’s input aside, Toure’s legacy should be one of Premier League legend. For at least four seasons he was the best midfielder in the league. And his in the 2013-14 season was ridiculous. The numbers speak for themselves.

But is not stats that make legends, moments do. And that is where Toure excels.

From the legendary half time team talk against Manchester United at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final in 2011 to the stunning equaliser against Sunderland in the League Cup final in 2014, Toure has always been City’s talisman.

Never before has English football seen such a dominant box to box midfielder. Yes there have been some great ones from Colin Bell to Bryan Robson and then on to Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard, but never one so imposing.

The sight of him getting up to full speed terrified every single side, as once he was running, there was literally no stopping him. It was pure joy to watch opposition players desperately trying to bring Toure down to no avail, the result almost inevitable.

If Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard are all time Premier League greats then Yaya Toure deserves to be right in there as well. That is how good he has been.

The free-kicks, the long range pearlers, the ridiculous runs from his own half beating half a team, the fact he has never missed a penalty, the passing accuracy – the list goes on.

Before the current campaign there was not a trophy that Manchester City have won in the modern era that wasn’t down to Toure. So many big game performances have cemented his legacy.

The winner against Stoke in the FA Cup final, the domination of the 2014 title win, the winning penalty in the League Cup final in 2014.

He may not be the best player City have signed (that is David Silva) but he has certainly been the most influential; for that he deserves the highest praise. A legend bows out. Thanks for everything Yaya.