London: Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure signed a new one-year contract with Manchester City on Thursday, a reward for sterling performances after returning to favour mid-November.
The 34-year-old midfielder — a four-time African Footballer of the Year — had fallen out with City manager Pep Guardiola but regained his trust and has been retained unlike several other players who like him were out of contract and been allowed to leave.
“I’m delighted,” Toure told the club website.
“I told myself the journey at City is not done and when I received a call from Txiki (Begiristain the football director) and talked to the manager I was very delighted.
“When I was first coming here (in 2010) I was trying to be part of a new story, of something special at this club.
“I am very lucky now to be part of a great club with great players around me who are helping me to achieve my targets.”
Toure, who skippered Ivory Coast to their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations triumph over Ghana ending a 23 year drought, added the desire to win more silverware remained as keen as ever.
In his seven years at the club, Toure has been part of two Premier League winning sides — scoring 24 goals in the 2013/14 campaign.
He has also played a significant role in their Cup successes, scoring in the 2011 FA Cup win over Stoke and the 2014 League Cup victory over Sunderland as well as a penalty in the shootout win over Liverpool in the 2016 final.
“Of course I want to win trophies, that is very important to me,” said Toure, who has scored 81 goals in 299 league appearances for the club.
“I want to enjoy it at this age still and remaining here is a massive, massive thing.
“It is a great club, going in the right direction with new players who are coming in. Our mentality is always to win week in, week out and I’m delighted with the fans as well.”
Begiristain for his part said despite Toure’s age the former Barcelona star remained firmly part of Guardiola’s plans.
“Yaya has been a fantastic servant for Manchester City and continues to be a vital member of Pep Guardiola’s squad,” said Begiristain.
“He is one of our most experienced and popular players and we couldn’t be happier that he is staying with us as we embark on what we all hope will be a very exciting season.
“Yaya has been central to the successes we’ve had over the past seven years and he has a vital part to play next season.” — AFP