Yaya Toure has been receiving a lot of affection from Manchester City lately, something the former midfielder complained of not getting, especially during his latter days at the club.
Toure, who spent eight successful years at City, left the club an unhappy man in 2018 after spending most of his final season on the bench, leading to a breakdown in relationship between him and manager Pep Guardiola.
That led to the now infamous words of his agent that ‘African shamans will never let Guardiola win the Uefa Champions League’ as punishment for not playing Toure.
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Since those comments, City have had unsuccessful attempts in Europe’s premier club competition, missing out to Chelsea in last season’s final as well as getting knocked out of this season’s semi-final by Real Madrid after being seconds away from reaching the final.
This was not the first time Toure was at loggerheads with the club. In 2014, he threatened to leave the club after being upset by City for not getting him a cake on his 31st birthday.
But in the wake of City’s latest elimination from the Champions League, fans have noticed an unusual trend affection from the club towards Toure.
It started with the club celebrating the Ivorian by marking the day he played his last game for City on May 9, followed by a special message on his 39th birthday four days later.
Toure was then among a number of club legends invited for the unveiling of Sergio Aguero’s statue at the weekend before the club rolled back the years by showcasing his brace against Swansea City on May 17, 2015, on Tuesday, which won them the Premier League title in spectacular fashion.
Those gestures have fans guessing whether City really mean them or they are trying to get into the ex-player’s good books so that he can finally lift the ‘curse.’
“Since you exited the Champions League, you have been singing Yaya’s praises,” observed @buchishine1 in reply to City’s compilation of Toure’s goals against Swansea. He added: “I know what you are trying to do. Pep should come out and apologise to him.”
“The way Man City have been posting good stuff about Yaya Toure is fishy, are you guys trying to appease him?” posed @sheyi_williams.
“You're now thinking of the guy you chased like a kid,” @BabaKyle said.
“All of the sudden, after getting knocked out of UCL, City keep posting posts about Yaya Toure, Coincidence? I think not,” @mosesnathanaell also noticed.
Some fans believe City are now paying the price for their past ‘sins.’
“Nine years at the highest level and you guys neglected him,” said @Buubaal90.
“They trying to break the curse by uploading his videos,” @zzzaid007zzz commented.
Others think it is an exercise in futility from the club.
“You can upload 1000s of Toure's videos but still you won't win UCL,” commented @cfcHavertic.
“He still won’t free you all from the curse, keep posting him,” said @Francys2x.
Others think City will need to do more to appease their former midfielder.
“Without his statue outside the Etihad, this is just unnecessary noise,” responded @NicolaSirengo with @collinzo10 agreeing. “Build this man a statue and the curse is gone.”
Toure won three Premier League titles while scoring 79 goals in 361 appearances for City after becoming a key member of the squad that established the club as a global powerhouse alongside Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
Do you think City’s recent love for Yaya Toure has anything to do with the Champions League curse? Share your thoughts below.