x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Toure brothers determined to succeed

Family is a core value for Yaya and Manchester City teammate Kolo who were brought together following their mother's death in 2003.

Kolo Toure, right, and younger brother Yaya, centre, were united together at Eastlands earlier this season after Manchester City’s executive management team convinced Yaya to swap Barcelona for Manchester. Yaya said it had always been his dream to play with his brother at club level.
Kolo Toure, right, and younger brother Yaya, centre, were united together at Eastlands earlier this season after Manchester City’s executive management team convinced Yaya to swap Barcelona for Manchester. Yaya said it had always been his dream to play with his brother at club level.

Yaya Toure hopes his decision to swap Barcelona for Manchester City to be reunited with his brother is rewarded with a trophy - a feat that would represent an emotional moment after the heartache his close-knit family have endured.

The Toure brothers, Yaya and Kolo, are two of nine siblings and Yaya - two years younger than Kolo - was hit hard by the death of his mother in 2003 when he was just 19.

"In my life I've had problems to deal with," Yaya said.

Family is clearly one of the core values in the lives of the Ivory Coast internationals.

Kolo, the defender, has a silver pendant with the inscription on the back "I love my mum and my wife", while Yaya, the midfielder, insists his name on the back of the shirt that adorns his hulking frame reads "Toure Yaya" so his proud family name is more prominent.

"We are both very close to our family and go back to see them as often as we can." Yaya said. "And we are so very thankful for the support they give us. Now we want to win a trophy together - that would be such a proud moment for the family."

Kolo and Yaya were born in Bouake, the Ivory Coast's second city, but eventually settled in Abidjan and graduated from the same ASEC Mimosas Academy as Chelsea's Salomon Kalou and Bakary Kone, the former Nice and Marseille striker who now plays for Lekhwiya in Qatar.

While Kolo arrived in Manchester via Arsenal, Yaya's path to the north of England has been rather more unconventional; the midfielder has plied his trade in Belgium, Ukraine, Greece, France and Spain.

"I left my country when I was young to find my way in Europe, to learn about European football and to be a total professional," Yaya said. "That is why I'm like I am. You have to have order and discipline. You have to have rules for life: behave well, respect your surroundings. You must be in control of yourself."

England became his destination after City used the carrot of his brother, a lucrative contract and the chance to be part of an ambitious project to lure him to the Premier League.

"I have always wanted to play with Kolo," Yaya said. "We have often talked about it and wondered whether it would happen. It's nice that we've been able to do it.

"We are very close, and I have so much respect for him. As well as being my brother, he is a brilliant footballer, I watched his success at Arsenal and wanted to be like him.

"And it felt a bit like coming home joining City because he was already here. It feels nice to have my brother to talk to every day at the training ground and at the games.

"Kolo was a big help to me in settling in when I first joined from Barcelona. Not only had he played in Manchester, but was well used to English life from his time in Arsenal. He has really helped me."

Kolo and Yaya are inseparable and even get changed next to each other in the dressing room. Last season Yaya was sharing a changing room with the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

The executive management team at City clearly performed a good job selling the club and convincing a player at the peak of his powers to swap Camp Nou for Eastlands.

"Of course I enjoyed my career with Barcelona, played with some brilliant players and won trophies," Yaya said. "I will never forget my time there, it was very special. I saw the ambition of Manchester City and wanted to be a part of it.

"There are important players here who are capable of winning things, and the team is improving all the time.

"It's a great club, with great people, and I'm proud that I can be a part of it.

"It's a very exciting project and there are a lot of people talking about Manchester City, not just in England but in Europe."

kaffleck@thenational.ae

See the City stars on film

Blue Moon Rising, a new feature-length film about Manchester City’s exciting journey through last season’s Premier League, is screening for two nights only at all Cinestar theatres across the UAE. With unique access to star players and celebrity fans, including Noel Gallagher, the former frontman of rock group Oasis, the feature-length documentary charts the highs and lows of a historic year at Eastlands.