Yaya Touré has revealed he may remain at Manchester City for the rest of his career after regaining focus following the death of his younger brother, Ibrahim.
The former Barcelona midfielder suffered the most emotional few weeks of his career this summer after his younger brother, who had cancer for two years, passed away aged 28 while Ivory Coast were playing at the World Cup finals in Brazil.
Touré had looked certain to leave City after a series of bizarre rows with club officials only days after winning the Premier League title, when he accused them of disrespecting him on his birthday before complaining about being denied time to spend with his dying brother.
However, the 31-year-old now insists any bad feeling has been put to one side and that all his efforts will be centred on the manager Manuel Pellegrini’s push for domestic and European honours.
“It was not a case of me wanting to leave the club. I stayed quiet, I believe that is the right way, and at the end of the day it’s my decision,” he said. “I will stay at Man City for as long as possible.”
Touré also claims he is happy to be back on the training ground. “I’m feeling fine. It’s good to start training again. It’s been a difficult pre-season. Unfortunately it was a difficult summer for my family. When you lose a brother it is always difficult and he was young too. We were very sad, all the family. We need to move on and pray for him.
“He was my brother, he loved football. When he was sick in Manchester he was watching every game I was playing in. After them I was coming to see him in hospital. I think we need to try to move on and try to think about the next step.”
Ivory Coast’s participation in the World Cup finals ended in the first round, when they were eliminated after a controversial penalty won by Georgios Samaras in stoppage time of their final group match against Greece.
“This World Cup was quite strange too,” Touré added. “The penalty against Greece was unbelievable. I don’t know what Samaras was doing. It was a mistake and it cost us. We had a chance to go further. But this is football.
“The important thing always was to try to achieve important things for my country. It’s in a difficult situation because of politics but the people there love football so much.”
If the Ivory Coast’s failure to make progress in Brazil stung the midfielder, nothing will come close to the personal loss. Touré claims his head is now clear and that any problems with Pellegrini and City have been sorted out.
“Now I’m very happy to join the team and the manager,” he said. “Everyone is very positive. Last year was a good season and this year I hope and think it will be amazing, because all the big teams are signing good players.
“The matter is closed now. The most important thing was to try to focus again. With the loss of my brother it was quite hard. I am a Muslim, I believe in god. Sometimes you can have everything – but this was a difficult situation. He has been sick for two years. But he knew I loved football and he was telling me ‘go to the World Cup and enjoy it. If you stay with me and don’t participate in the World Cup I would not be happy. I would love to see you doing your best and trying to help the country’.
“Last season was quite difficult at first but in the end it was fantastic – two trophies. This year we’ll try to do our best, we are looking to do well in the Champions League. It will be very open.”