- Premier League
Birthday row brings bizarre Toure quit claim
Yaya Toure's future at Manchester City is in doubt after his agent claimed the midfielder was not being paid enough respect by the club.
In a bizarre rant reported by the Sun, Dimitry Seluk said no one from City wished the midfielder happy birthday during a club event in Abu Dhabi a week ago to celebrate their second Premier League title.
While Toure said he was still committed to City, he later took to his official Twitter account to confirm what his agent had said was true.
Seluk insisted Toure, 31, is considering leaving because he is not being treated like a hero after scoring 20 goals on the way to their triumph rather than a ruse to engineer a pay rise.
"Yaya is so upset he's thinking of leaving City," said Seluk. "There are a number of things that have happened that have left Yaya feeling bitterly upset. He must concentrate on the World Cup now. But City have treated him with disrespect and have really hurt him."
Of the birthday snub, Seluk added: "What happened at his birthday meant the club don't care about him. It was proof. They can say whatever they want, 'Oh we like him but we forgot'.
"Forgot? About Yaya? The player who helped you to be two-times Premier League champions? The guy who helped you win the FA Cup and the League Cup?
"His birthday can be on a normal day and, in a normal team, his team-mates and club would at least give him good wishes.
"But when you win the title on May 11, a day later you go to Abu Dhabi and on May 13 you have a big party to celebrate the title and nobody comes to Yaya to say, 'Happy birthday', what more do you want? They don't give any attention to Yaya. This is the s***tiest thing."
Seluk's claims are made even more bizarre given City's official YouTube channel posted a video of the players and staff singing 'happy birthday' to Toure on their flight to Abu Dhabi and presenting him with a birthday cake.
But Seluk, when pressed on City's birthday greetings, refused to back down. He told the BBC: "He [Toure] got a cake but when it was Roberto Carlos's birthday, the president of Anzhi gave him a Bugatti. I don't expect City to present Yaya with a Bugatti, we only asked that they shook his hand and said 'we congratulate you'.
"The club's owners ate a 100kg cake after winning the Premier League this season but when they and the players were all together, none of them shook his hand on his birthday. It shows they don't care about him. It's really sick."
City may treat Seluk's stance with some scepticism after previously threatening that Toure was ready to move on.
The agent claimed his client needed "new motivations" in May 2012 and that he could leave for Chelsea, Bayern Munich or Barcelona.
In March last year, Seluk issued City with an ultimatum, again via the Sun, that Toure would leave the club if he was not offered a new deal within a matter of days. In early April, Toure signed a new four-year, £200,000-a-week contract.
However, this time Seluk insists Toure's complaints are not about money. He added: "Yaya is rich enough, I am rich enough and for us the most important thing is relationships.
"They don't know that money can't buy relationships - no Sheikh can buy a relationship. This isn't about money or a new contract - it's about human relationships and City have shown they don't respect him. I repeat, this is not about money. In fact, he would take less to return to Barcelona."
With Toure - who scored 24 goals in all competitions from midfield for City this season - tied to such a long deal it seems unlikely the club would contemplate allowing him to leave.
But Seluk hinted the recent sanctions handed down to the club by UEFA over Financial Fair Play breaches, which included restricting City to a £49 million net spend next season, could pave the way for Toure's exit.
"With Financial Fair Play for them, it's very good if Yaya goes," added Seluk." They can receive money and they can show to UEFA they have money. And they can let Manuel Pellegrini win the title with Fernando from Porto."