London, June 27 (IANS) Midfielder Yaya Toure wants to end his football career at Manchester City — and become the English Premier League (EPL) side’s answer to Italian club AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.
The Ivorian ended speculation over his future earlier this summer, after months of reports that he was pushing for a move away. And now Toure has revealed his intention to see out his playing days at City and become an iconic figure like Maldini at AC Milan, mirror.co.uk reported on Friday.
“That’s the dream for all the players,” said the 32-year-old on Friday. “I was trying to convince some players to continue at the club and they said ‘why?’
“Because it was the case of Maldini, it was the case of (Franco) Baresi, of (Alessandro) del Piero, (Francesco) Totti as well — so many important players. They are staying long at the club.”
Despite interest from Inter Milan, Toure was convinced to remain at City after face-to-face talks with club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak at the end of the season.
But he adds that he didn’t want to walk away from the fans, who continued to sing his name in the stands, even during a difficult campaign.
Toure is determined to return to his best next season, following his inconsistent form last term. He managed 13 goals in all competitions as City failed to win any silverware — but that return was a long way short of the 24 he scored in the title-winning campaign the previous year.
While Toure accepts it wasn’t a vintage season, he believes he endured undue criticism — particularly after winning the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) with the Ivory Coast.
He points to the less glamorous work he had to do for City as a factor in his failure to repeat his match-winning displays often enough.
“It was not as bad as people are saying because I’ve been able to win trophy with my country and this season I’ve been able to score a couple of goals,” he said.
“But as a midfielder, last year I’ve been able to score 25 goals people want me to repeat that. It is a part of the game, but people have to understand that as a midfielder one of the things I try to do first is organise the team, set up the team very well and be able to attack strongly.”