To Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, the Premier League pulls more sympathetic support from fans than the Spanish La Liga, where he spent three seasons playing for Barcelona between 2007 and 2010.
Speaking to French radio RFI, the Cote D’Ivoire international said racism chants are not heard in English stadiums like in Spain and that comforts his penchant for the Premier League where he has plied his trade for more than three years now.
“Samuel Eto’o is my big brother. He helped me a lot to settle down when I joined Camp Nou in 2007 and I’m happy to see him play in England,” Toure said, highlighting Sunday’s clash between City and Chelsea as a precious opportunity to face the Cameroonian-born four-time African Footballer of the Year.
Toure has also won the African football premier individual award twice in 2011 and 2012 and may likely be a strong contender for the upcoming edition, but he predicts the choice will be tough for voters.
“African football is growing and producing brilliant talent every year. I feel the competition for this year’s award will be tough, because so many African players are doing well in Europe. But for me, I feel very honoured to have won it twice, because focus had always been on strikers and not a defensive midfielder like me,” he said.
The Ivory Coast midfielder also had praise for the approach of City’s new manager Manuel Pellegrini whose style he described as more offensive than that of his predecessor Roberto Mancini. Toure pointed out that their 4-1 win over cross-town rivals Manchester United was a result of the Spaniard’s tactical approach.
Cote D’Ivoire will face Senegal next month in their World Cup playoff return leg, after a 3-1 victory in the first leg played in Abidjan. If the Elephants make it to Brazil 2014, it would be Toure’s third consecutive appearance in the finals, which he wishes at all costs.
“The Fifa World Cup is where the best football players meet and it’s a dream tournament for every professional footballer. I wish above all things that we qualify so we can show our colours to the world like others will be doing.”