Four-time African footballer of the year Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Manchester City midfielder — capped 113 times including appearances at three World Cup finals — said it had been an incredibly difficult decision. “Writing this note was probably ‘the most difficult match of my life’,” wrote Toure, who faces a pretty light season as he is out of favour at Manchester City.
“After 14 years at the highest level, I’m sure this is the right time for me! The fact that I am 33 now, the intensity of training and the multitude of games are not the reasons why I am making this decision.”
Toure, part of the golden generation of Ivory Coast players such as Didier Drogba, his brother Kolo Toure and Gervinho, said for all his success at club level, including a Champions League with Barcelona in 2009, it was finally winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015 — their first since 1992 — that remained his most precious memory.
Toure, who made his Ivory Coast debut in 2004, captained the victorious ‘Elephants’ side having replaced Drogba as skipper when the latter finally called it a day at international level after the 2014 World Cup. “I would like to say solemnly that I am stopping!!!” said Toure, who had appeared in two losing Africa Cup of Nations finals sides.