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50-50 Challenge: Real vs. Atletico

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50-50 Challenge: Arsenal vs. Man City

Preview 6 days ago
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May 20, 2014

Yaya doesn't take the cake

Now, I don't know about you, but I could never quite decide whether Yaya Toure was a Victoria Sponge type of guy, a lover of Buccellato or just a fiend for a Fondant Fancy.

Those of us battered by the history of Manchester City (we've already seen everything, you know, so a small row over puddings is neither here nor there) are more likely to choose Battenburg, for the simple reason that it has been going as long as we have, sounds a little like we feel and falls apart as soon as you pick it up.

This, in a mere quartered slice of sugary niceness, is the history of Manchester City Football Club, written in icing sugar and a quarter-pound bag of hundreds and thousands.

That Yaya Toure's future has suddenly been thrown into doubt over the way his birthday was marked is a new chapter in the delightful narrative of a club that has already provided the good members of the British public with enough belly laughs to last a lifetime and a half.

Those who thought the onset of riches and the steady flow of titles and trophies over the past three years would put an abrupt end to this beloved old club of ours, are tonight looking a little silly. Manchester City is and always will be Manchester City, Sergio Aguero or no Sergio Aguero, James Milner or no James Milner and indeed, Yaya Toure or no Yaya Toure.

The day has been illuminated by a tidal wave of Twitter and media delight at a story so absurd, so pitifully silly, that some members of the so-called serious press have had difficulty attaching any words to it that didn't reek of Keystone Cops comedy. As you can see, luckily I have no trouble at all reporting on a spat between the three-time African Footballer of the Year and the Manchester City catering division.

Most of the early hits came from Toure's infamous agent, Dimitry Seluk, a man that you could easily say belongs to the plethora, nay the armada, of new age football men who represent their chosen athletes by agitating, living the high life with a couple of phones attached to their temples and publishing (when they have the time) the occasional photo from some glass-fronted cocktail bar in Las Vegas, or Moscow or Monte Carlo.

Seluk has been a regular agitator in the modern, agent-coated sense of the word, since the giant Ivorian set foot in rainy Manchester in 2010. Last summer he sent out clear messages through his chosen conduit, the Sun newspaper, that his client would leave if he were not offered a tasty top-up to his already presidential salary. This year, he has chosen a new route to mix things up and, it has to be said, has surpassed himself this time.

- Toure confirms he is unhappy
- The Toe Poke: Yaya Toure's bizarre tantrum

A year ago, this was the dry message: "My client is in need of new horizons. He could well leave for Chelsea, Bayern Munich or Barcelona in time for the new season..."

Try, if you can, to dispense with any images you might be contemplating in your mind's eye of a loyal and deeply overworked agent shuffling cards with different demands on them, some of which he has tried already, others yet to be sprung upon us. It is a trick of the mind. This is not how Seluk works.

Today's claim is that "Yaya is very upset; he's thinking of leaving City, There are a number of things that have happened that have left Yaya feeling bitterly upset. He must concentrate on the World Cup now. But City have treated him with disrespect and have really hurt him. He will answer all questions after the World Cup..."

That's a long time to hold in your feelings of lovelessness, one has to say, what with the small matter of a month-long festival of football to decide the best team in the world in the middle of it all.

Perhaps, in amongst the daftest quotes you are likely to see all summer in the supernatural festival of vanity that modern football has become, it would have been best for Toure to leave the talking to those giant canal barge feet that dispatched 24 goals into the opposition nets last season.

Now that would have been really quite eloquent.