After 14 years playing for the Ivory Coast, Yaya Toure has decided he has played his last game of international football. Widely regarded as the greatest footballer to ever come out of Africa, Toure debuted for his national squad in 2004 and went on to appear in 113 international matches for the Elephants.
Throughout his illustrious International career, Yaya won a total of 102 caps for his home country. Prolific on both offensive and defensive sides of the field, Toure’s presence led the Elephants to three World Cup appearances and three African Cup of Nations finals.
At the peak of his greatness, Toure amassed four straight “African Footballer of the Year” awards from 2011 to 2014, and he earned second place in 2015. In addition to his prowess on the International pitch, Yaya was also busy lighting up Premier League. He led Manchester City to an FA Cup victory with the winning goal in 2011, then spearheaded his club to the Premier League title a year later.
After being named captain of the squad in 2014, Toure went on to lead the Ivory Coast to their first Cup of Nations title since 1992. The Elephants would beat Ghana in a thrilling penalty shoot-out that ended 9-8 in favor of the Ivorians.
Many had speculated that regular omissions from his club Manchester City’s first team would fuel Toure’s desire to take the pitch for his native country. Instead, he will look to use the extra time to make an impact with his club and ultimately earn a spot among the regular starters.
Yaya Toure may be past his golden years, but he is still a dominant and respected presence both on and off the field. Unfortunately, recent comments by Toure’s agent about his lack of squad selection have further distanced him from Manchester City’s new manager Pep Guardiola. Guardiola has been quoted as saying Toure will not be selected for the team until he receives an apology.
It remains to be seen where the remainder of Toure’s professional career will go, but nobody can take away from the brilliant things he has accomplished as an international star.