Manchester City recently celebrated their first League title for 44 years, a victory that was given extra spice by the fact that they overcame Manchester United on goal difference on the final day of the season. With many millions spent in the transfer market, it was reward for a massive investment but one player stood out. Yaya Touré has been truly inspirational for City, combing his endless running with sublime skills to play a pivotal role in City’s midfield. His ability to switch effectively from defence to attack has won him many admirers of the years and their Premiership rivals could only look on in admiration as he drove City towards their title.
Touré began his playing career at Ivorian club ASEC Mimosas at the age of 18 and soon attracted attention from Europe. Touré enjoyed spells in Belgium and the Ukraine before signing for Olympiacos in Greece and on to the French side Monaco. In 2007, Touré signed for Spanish giants Barcelona, playing over 100 matches for the club and being an integral part of the famous 2010 side which won six trophies in one season. His transfer to City in 2010 provided the club with extra class and experience that proved vital in the closing stages of the season. He scored the only goal in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester Untied with City going on to win the trophy, their first for 35 years and a vital stepping stone to this season’s championship success.
His role in steering City to the Cup and into title contention was recognised when he was named the African Footballer of the Year 2011. However, it was in the closing weeks of the season where his influence became most significant, especially after City fell 8 points behind United. Vital wins over West Brom, Norwich and Wolves kept their hopes alive and they faced United in what was to be billed as a title decider.
City pulled themselves level on points by defeating United 1-0 thanks to a goal by Vincent Kompany. Touré received widespread acclaim for his performance in the derby match and followed up with two goals in the defeat of Newcastle to leave them on the brink of the Premiership title. Injury prevented Touré from completing the game in City’s decisive 3-2 victory over QPR on the final day of the season but this could not detract from his enormous contribution to City’s season. Many felt that Touré was the difference between the two Manchester clubs and that he is going to be a tower of strength as they look to build on their success next season.