By Adeniyi Alugbemi in Abuja, Nigeria
After CAF crowned Ivorian Yaya Toure African Player of the Year at the Eko Hotel and convention centre in Lagos, our special correspondent Adeniyi Olugbemi profiles the Manchester City play-maker.
A versatile player, Yaya Toure, 30, always wanted to be a striker during his youth and has played centre back, including for FC Barcelona in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final.
The Ivorian is noted for combining great vision, passing ability and physical prowess with technique. He frequently plays as a box-to-box midfielder for club and country and often switches from defensive to offensive positions.
Toure began his playing career at Cote d’Ivoire side ASEC Mimosas where he made his debut aged 18. His performance attracted attention from Europe, playing for clubs in various European leagues.
He played for Beveren in Belgium, Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine, Olympiacos in Greece and AS Monaco in France. In 2007, Toure moved to Barcelona, playing over 100 matches for the club and was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona team, which won six trophies in one calendar year.
He then moved to Premier League club Manchester City in 2010, where he has since scored a number of key goals, most notably the only goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final. He is the younger brother of Liverpool defender, Kolo Toure.
Toure has a distinguished international career with 74 caps for Cote d’Ivoire, representing the team in their first appearance in the FIFA World Cup in the 2006 and 2010 editions. He was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2011 and 2012, the 2013 award making it the third in a row.