Kole Toure returns to Man City
After completing a six-month doping ban for taking his wife's diet pills, Kolo Toure returns to action for Ivory Coast this weekend desperate to make up for lost time.
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The Manchester City center back failed a drugs test in March after taking pills that contained an unidentified banned substance.
The 30-year-old Toure avoided the maximum two-year ban but still missed out on City's FA Cup final win over Stoke - its first major trophy since 1976 - and the club's qualification for the Champions League for the first time.
His first game back is likely to be Ivory Coast's African Nations Cup qualifier against Rwanda on Saturday, before he switches his focus to regaining his place in City's star-studded lineup.
''I feel totally recharged and as fit as I've ever been in my life,'' Toure told City's website. ''Hopefully, it will be like having a new signing because I am back and want to challenge for a first-team place.
''I know it won't be easy because the team is playing so well, but I'll be pushing hard for an opportunity.''
City has won its first three Premier League games and lies second behind fierce rival Manchester United on goal difference.
In Toure's absence, Joleon Lescott has established himself as captain Vincent Kompany's partner in the center of defense and his impressive displays have earned the former Everton defender a return to the England squad.
Toure, therefore, faces a battle to get back in the team but he is thankful just to have the opportunity to play again.
''I immediately realized the implications for my career, the club and my family,'' said Toure, recalling the moment he discovered the pills he took were on the prohibited list. ''It was an awful moment because I didn't know what was going to happen.
''It's been hard, but my family and the club have been amazingly supportive and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.''
Toure, whose ban ended on Friday, is set to take his place in an Ivory Coast side that has already qualified for the African Nations Cup thanks to its 100 percent record in Group H.
City's first game back after the international break is against Wigan at home on Sept. 10.