Gnegneri Yaya Toure born 13 May 1983, known as Yaya Touré, is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Ivory Coast national team for whom he is the captain. Touré aspired to be a striker during his youth and has played centre back, including for FC Barcelona in the
2009 UEFA Champions League Final, however he has spent the majority of his career as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country, where he has been regarded as one of the world’s best players. He was
voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Touré joined the ASEC Mimosas youth academy in 1996 on the recommendation of his long-time mentor Patrick van Reijendam. A prominent figure in the ASEC academy was Jean-Marc Guillou . In 2001 Guillou invested heavily in a Belgian club, Beveren, with the aim of using the team to showcase Ivorian players in a European league. Touré moved to Beveren in 2001, one of many ASEC players to do so in this period; by 2003 he was one of 14 Ivorians in the Beveren squad.
In the summer of 2003, Touré had a trial with Arsenal. He started a pre-season friendly against Barnet on 19 July, playing as a second striker and then moving up front in the second half. Manager Arsène Wenger
recognised his talent but could not decide on his best position and described his performance against Barnet as “completely average.” Wenger was still keen to sign the then 20-year-old but Touré had difficulties in getting a work permit. Ultimately, Touré grew impatient and opted to sign for Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk instead, where he spent one-and-a-half
Touré joined Olympiacos in 2005. He was described as “the new Patrick Vieira ” by his older brother. Olympiacos won the double that season, and Touré was one of their key players. His performances in Greece were impressive and attracted interest from many clubs.
After representing Ivory Coast in the 2006 World Cup, Yaya Touré was signed by French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in August 2006. Yaya had a difficult relationship with the incumbent manager, László Bölöni ,
with Yaya claiming Bölöni refused to play him in his preferred midfield position. Bölöni was eventually sacked. Laurent Banide replaced him and Yaya became an influential player in the second half of the
season, scoring five times to help haul the club out of relegation difficulties. Yaya had established himself as a key midfielder, and with interest from around Europe he decided to join FC Barcelona in the summer of 2007.
On 2 July 2010, Touré signed a five-year deal with Premier League club Manchester City for a fee of around £24 million and was allocated squad number 42, which is the reverse of the number 24 jersey he sported
at Barcelona, since Patrick Vieira had already been allocated that number. The move teamed Touré up with his elder brother Kolo, who signed for City in July 2009 from Arsenal . On 28 July, Touré made his debut for City in a pre-season friendly against Club América, which City
won 4–1 on penalties after a 1–1 draw with the Mexican side. In his home debut on 7 August, in another friendly match against Valencia CF , he was named man of the match.
Touré has a distinguished international career with over 100 caps for the Ivory Coast, representing the team at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also represented Ivory Coast in six Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015, helping them finish runner-up in 2006 and 2012, while captaining them to victory in 2015.