No sympathy for Toure
Agent's claim that City legend 'humiliated' is absurd
There are 220,000 reasons why it's impossible to feel sorry for Yaya Toure.
His weekly salary should soften the blow of falling out of favour at Manchester City, those piles of pound notes acting as a security blanket in his most desperate hour.
The midfielder's agent, Dimitri Seluk, insisted yesterday that Toure (above) was suffering, "humiliated" by an uncaring Pep Guardiola in an unjust world.
It's hard not to giggle. It's even harder to care.
In an age of obscene wealth for the favoured few, dropped players can display the petulance of a princess complaining that she didn't get the right coloured pony for Christmas.
Footballers are bought, picked, benched and sold. That's it. The English Premier League has always displayed the dispassionate cruelty of Game of Thrones, except ostracised players aren't beheaded, but packed off to China or the US for sacks of tax-free dollars.
But the recent handling of Toure and Joe Hart at Manchester City and Bastian Schweinsteiger at Manchester United has evoked strangely inconsistent emotions.
They are not the first title winners or national icons to be ushered towards the exit and certainly won't be the last, but the reaction is a little baffling.
Guardiola, like Jose Mourinho at United, is tasked with winning the Champions League, no more and certainly no less. Guardiola's predecessors learned that domestic titles bought time, but not immunity from boardroom prosecution.
So they hire and fire as they please and get sacked if they fail.
No wheels are being reinvented here.
In the British media, where coverage of Hart's departure reached levels of hysteria not reached since England lost to Iceland, a little nationalistic jingoism clearly influenced the thought process.
Here comes Johnny Foreigner telling an Englishman that he hasn't got what it takes to succeed at his own England club; the gall of this Guardiola fella, eh?
Had Hart been a foreigner, one who'd suffered a similarly disastrous Euro 2016, his exit would've precipitated a collective sigh of indifference.
So Hart's former colleague has quickly jumped on the sympathy bandwagon, wallowing in his "humiliation".
Toure's suffering is due to Guardiola's decision to leave the midfielder out of the squad for the Champions League group stages.
The 33-year-old Ivory Coast veteran hasn't featured in any of City's three EPL games and, more pertinently, the club can include only 17 overseas players in their European squad.
Guardiola has 18 on his books. Toure is the odd man out. That's life.
But his agent isn't satisfied. Seluk has long had only a passing grip on reality, a man who very much defines the modern deluded agent.
Two years ago, he insisted his client was leaving the club because the staff failed to acknowledge Toure's birthday. The Ivorian literally wanted to have his cake and eat it.
When the creamy sponge failed to materialise, he displayed the temperament of a toddler who didn't get any jam in his doughnut.
In a toe-curling climbdown, City rustled up a cake and gathered around the lip-quivering Toure for a birthday song for social media.
Then there were the times when Toure complained that his ability was overlooked because of his African background, a ludicrous claim.
In his prime, Toure combined muscular force and feminine grace better than any other English Premier League midfielder and was championed as such.
But the endless accolades were never quite enough for Toure.
His fellow Ivorians supposedly didn't quite appreciate his sacrifices for his country.
Pundits apparently didn't fully recognise his title-winning achievements at City and his colleagues didn't celebrate his birthday with enough gusto.
His largely inaccurate complaints were conveniently sidestepped at the time because Toure was still delivering. Inspirational figures are always indulged. What's a prodigious talent without the odd tantrum?
Now the roles are reversed, Toure and his agent expect the kind of latitude and tolerance that greeted most of their outbursts.
Guardiola doesn't quite celebrate Toure's strengths with the same gusto as his predecessors and the midfielder's agent speaks of "humiliation".
It isn't a humiliation, just an ageing great succumbing to the undefeated opponent of time.
It isn't even personal with Guardiola, even if the Spaniard once sanctioned Toure's move from Barcelona to City back in 2009.
Guardiola hasn't closed the door. Toure still has a chance to prove his manager wrong or take Hart's dignified route and continue his career elsewhere.
The midfielder really should count his blessings. And if that doesn't work, he can always count his money.
"When his behaviour is OK, then everything goes well. He said he wants to stay. If he wants to stay, I am happy he stays."
— Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Yaya Toure’s position