Remembering When Yaya Toure Was The Best Midfielder In World Football
Yaya Toure has called time on his glittering career, meaning we will no longer have the pleasure of seeing him embark on a trademark lung-bursting run before wallopping one into the top bins.
After leaving Manchester City following eight trophy-laden seasons, Toure returned to former club Olympiakos in September but had his contract terminated after just three months in his second spell with the Greek outfit.
The player's controversial agent Dimitri Seluk announced the news this morning, revealing that the Ivorian powerhouse will now concentrate on a career as a coach.
Seluk threatened to tarnish his legacy with his outlandish antics over the years - with the whole 'birthday cake' fiasco and the rest of it - but the fact remains that Toure is a Premier League great.
And his sensational form in City's 2013/14 double-winning campaign is the primary reason as to why the four-time African Footballer of the Year has earned that status.
Already a Champions League winner with Barcelona, Toure was brilliant under Roberto Mancini and played a starring role in the club's first trophy for 35 years when he scored two Wembley winners against Manchester United and Stoke City, before following it up by helping City to their first Premier League title a year later.
Yet it was in that first season under Manuel Pellegrini where we well and truly saw the best of him. Toure, playing in a midfield two alongside Fernandinho for the duration of the campaign, scored 20 Premier League goals and registered 9 assists for his teammates in 35 outings.
A genuine freak of nature, and this is still possibly the greatest individual season I've seen in a City shirt. Dragged us to success at times. In a bit @YayaToure. pic.twitter.com/FmdcF662QM
- Steven (@StevenMcinerney) May 4, 2018
He scored 10 free-kicks, completed 2205 passes with a success rate of 90% and deservedly made the PFA Team of the Year for the second time.
It's the greatest season a midfielder has ever conjured up in the history of the Premier League and had it not been for Luis Suarez's ludicrously good performance levels that year, Yaya would have undoubtedly collected the individual awards.
The likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have had stellar campaigns but no-one dominated like Yaya did.
A big-game player, a midfield machine and one of the most technically gifted footballers to play in English football.
All hail King Yaya.