Pep Guardiola has showered praises on Yaya Toure ahead of his exit from Manchester City, hailing the midfielder as one of the club’s greatest.
Toure is set to play his final game at the Etihad Stadium when City take on Brighton and Hove Albion in Wednesday’s English Premier League clash.
Subsequently, he ends an eight-year stint at the club where he won three EPL titles, two League Cups, one FA Cup and a Community Shield. And the Spaniard has hailed him for his impact in helping to place City in the spotlight.
“Tomorrow is his last game at the Etihad stadium,” Guardiola said in his pre-match briefing.
“We will try and play for him and win for him.
“Yaya is part of the club, not just because of the trophies he has won but because he transmitted to everyone the club can be bigger and greater.
“He is beloved, he is calm, he loves football and I’m very pleased with the success he has had.
“The footballers made the club bigger and bigger and bigger. He is one of the most important players in the whole history.
“He helped this club step forward hopefully we can play a good game and dedicate it to him.”
Toure’s final season at the club saw him restricted to cameo appearances – having only nine substitute appearances under his belt in City’s Premier League title-winning campaign.
But Guardiola, who also coached Toure at Barcelona before he left for the Manchester outfit in 2010, talked up his influence within the team.
“Yaya is great in the locker room with the old guys and young guys,” he said.
“He deserves the respect from the other ones, no doubt.
“He came from the [Roberto] Mancini era, after Manuel [Pellegrini], and the things they won, he was so, so important.
“We will not judge Yaya on this season. Maybe I was wrong with my decisions.
“He needs to be judged on his whole career. He is a player with a huge personality. He doesn’t feel the pressure, he loves to play football.
“I took the decision this season on what I saw every day in the training sessions.
“He is the only guy last season who finished his contract who we extended because I thought he could help us.
“I wish him well. I hope he stays in world football.”
Toure has featured in 229 leagues games, scoring 59 times since he moved from Spain in 2010.