Yaya Toure's future came unexpectedly into question at the end of Manchester City's Premier League-winning season and the World Cup seemed the ideal time to underline his quality for any watching suitors.
Ivory Coast needed a big contribution from him as they took on group favourites Colombia in Brasilia - Goal runs the rule over his efforts in a game that the Elephants went on to lose 2-1...
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST COLOMBIA
Coming up against a Colombia team widely expected to top the group, particularly after a strong first game against Greece, Ivory Coast needed Toure to bring all of his experience to bear – apart from Didier Zokora, he is the only man to have started every game that his country has ever played at the World Cup.
It did not go to plan as Jose Pekerman's men ran out 2-1 winners but Toure was still one of the brightest performers for his side in a hard-fought match. He was adventurous and looked to make things happen, successful in five of his six attempted dribbles.
While chances were at a premium – Toure created two, as opposed to his four against Japan – the ball that he put in for an acrobatic Wilfried Bony effort was a delightful one that deserved a better finish.
He was always the man to whom his team-mates were looking – only Cheikh Tiote made more than his 78 touches for the Ivorians. However, a drop in passing accuracy from 89.4 per cent against Japan to just 79% in Brasilia spoke to both Colombia's extra pressure in defence and a failure to quite hit his dominating peak.
|HE'D BE PERFECT FOR...
Though he has made noises about a return to Barcelona, the Premier League does seem like the most natural home for Toure. As was perfectly shown in City's run to the 2013-14 title, the Ivorian can dominate with his pace and strength in a division in which those qualities are particularly prized.
At his best when given license to levy his power as well as considerable technical gifts in a more attacking capacity, City's impending signing of Fernando to sit alongside Fernandinho should allow him to do so more often.
When in the mood – which is not always – Toure offers a complete package that any team would want on their side.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
That is utterly unclear. Everything looked to be going just fine at the Etihad Stadium as Toure led Manuel Pellegrini's side to a second Premier League title in three years but then, at the end of the season, he and his agent began releasing a series of increasingly confusing statements about his future.
Apparently unhappy over City's failure to properly wish him a happy birthday, the midfielder's representative, Dimitri Seluk, has suggested that his client "has done all he can at City and needs new motivations", citing former club Barca as an attractive option. Toure himself has offered mixed messages in denying some of Seluk's claims but confirming others and refusing to rule out a transfer so much as promising more information after the World Cup.
Paris Saint-Germain are among those linked, though Toure has played down such speculation, but there has as yet been no clear development as to serious suitors. For City fans, it will be an anxious wait until they can be told more.
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