Yaya Toure’s agent has warned Manchester City they could face losing the midfielder if they don’t show him more respect.
The Premier League champions are in Qatar to continue their title celebrations, but their fans will have been shocked as news of Toure’s anger over a perceived lack of respect from the club’s staff was revealed late on Monday night.
The 31-year-old Ivory Coast international is upset with staff, not the players at the Etihad, who forgot his birthday on May 13, with his agent telling Sky Sports News that the midfielder had still to receive an apology or explanation from the club and also suggested that there were longer term issues to sort out.
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When asked if Toure would still be at City after the World Cup, agent Dimitri Seluk said: "I don’t know. Yaya will speak personally to staff and after that we will make a decision.
"But nobody has apologised from the staff yet. If they don’t want Toure then he can leave at any moment, no problem. Yaya is concentrating on the World Cup but if Man City is not respecting the player how can he be motivated to play for that team?
"Many clubs would be interested in him. There would be no problem finding a job."
Toure took to Twitter initially on Tuesday to play down the reports that he was pushing for a move to former club Barcelona.
"Thanks for all the birthday messages today. Card from City just arrived… Must have got lost in the post. Haha," he joked on Twitter. "Jokes aside. Please do not take words that do not come out of MY mouth seriously. Judge my commitment to @MCFC by my performances."
However, further tweets soon after on Tuesday suggested a change in tack for Toure who expressed his support for the comments made by his agent.
He tweeted: "My agent was trying to make a point here on my behalf, joke aside. It seems important for me to make a statement..i am going to do so. Everything dimitry said is true. He speaks for me. I will give an interview after World Cup to explain."
City’s players were handed a cake on the flight to Abu Dhabi last week and suggested the airline staff give it to Toure instead. The club tweeted their congratulations on his 31st birthday on May 13 but Seluk says his client was ignored by the club’s owners when the squad arrived in the United Arab Emirates as part of their Premier League celebrations.
Seluk added: "He is upset he wasn’t congratulated. If you’re a famous journalist and your boss forgets to congratulate, you would be a little upset. He does a lot for Man City. It’s very strange that staff don’t shake hands and say congratulations on your birthday. It’s not normal. Yaya is upset.
"One year ago we were talking about respect at the club again. It’s not what they do and not what they don’t do. You cannot buy a relationship. They must do it from the heart. My opinion is if player like Yaya gives everything to a club then the club must respect him.
"We don’t ask for money or presents. We are just talking about attention. Some clubs send flowers to families. This is the main thing. Maybe at Man City they don’t know what this is. After the World Cup he will speak."