11 November 2012

Africa: Football Requires a Lot of Sacrifices - Ivory Coast's Yaya Toure

Photo: CAF
Ivory Coast's Yaya Toure.

interview

In 2011, he won the African Player of the Year award, and this year he features again on the list and is going for a second consecutive award a feat only been achieved by Senegalese El Hadj Diouf and the Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o so far. The Ivorian midfielder says his priority is to have a successful and fulfilled career. Yaya told Cafonline.com that he would be happy if voted the winner, but wouldn't be too heart-broken if it goes to another player as his rivals in the contest for the trophy are worthy players.

At 29, you have a record that is impressive. Among others, 2009 was simply exceptional with seven trophies; the Champions League, the Spanish championship, the champions of Spain, the King's Cup, the Europe Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup and the World Clubs' Cup. This year you played a major part in Manchester City's English Championship win, their first in 44 years. Last year, you were crowned the African Player of the Year. How do you explain your growth and success?

I have always dreamed of making a name in football, of becoming a giant among the greats. This requires a lot of hard work and much sacrifice. In life one needs to know how to make the right choice, stick to it and do not deviate from the goals we set for ourselves. This is what I do.

It has taken you sometime to reach the highest level. You arrived in Europe in 2001 in Belgium. Then you moved over to Ukraine, and Greece and later spent a season in France before joining Barcelona in 2007. Barca is often considered as the best team in the world. What made you leave the club?

I cherish having more playing time, having a cordial relationship with the coach and my teammates, and not just playing once in a while or serving as a joker. That to me does not correspond to what I call building a career. I am at a club to play regularly.

You signed for Manchester City in 2010. What difference do you see between English and Spanish football?English football is more physical and more exciting. Basically, it is physically engaging in rhythm and intensity. On the other hand, Spanish football is more technical.

How can an African footballer perfectly integrate in European football? What qualities should he possess?

For an African, I think priority should be given to England, France and Italy. But a player can integrate in other championships. Consider, for example, what Wilfried Boni is doing in Holland. All the same, to really succeed, one must know how to care and look after himself. It is a fundamental requirement.

Since mid 2000, Ivorian football has continued to occupy the top rank, especially with two participations at the World Cup, meanwhile the continental trophy has often slipped out of your hands. Can we say the 2013 Nations Cup will be the last opportunity for this generation?

Time will tell. I don't want to engage in making forecast on our chances of winning the Nations Cup. But as an Ivorian and an African, I know that it is the most important competition, it is the biggest competition on the continent for African players.

Do you already have an idea on what you will do after football?

I adore football and it is my life. I think that I will continue playing till the end of my days. God willing.

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