Yaya Toure's curse: What is it, the story behind it, and is it true?

Yaya Toure's curse: What is it, the story behind it, and is it true?

Babu Tendu
updated at August 9, 2023 at 9:30 AM

The year is 2016! Pep Guardiola landed a job as Manchester City's head coach. The Spaniard took the job from Manuel Pellegrini, who had a chain of poor results. In that period, African players, such as Yaya Toure, felt that they were not getting enough game time due to the arrival of Pep. This situation brought about the famous Yaya Toure curse, which will be broken down today.

Yaya Toure's curse
The famous curse allegedly declared on Man City by Yaya Toure has haunted the club since 2016. Photos by Robbie Jay Barratt and James Gill. (Modified by author).
Source: Getty Images

Dmitri Seluk, Toure's agent, predicted an "African curse" will prevent Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola from ever winning the UEFA Champions League again. Unfortunately, the alleged curse has proven to work for the past few years since the Sky Blues have had unending bad luck in the UCL since then.

Is the Yaya Toure curse true?

The curse is just a conspiracy that seems to be true. However, its validity is still up for discussion since not all believe in curses. The 'curse' has prevailed since Toure departed from Etihad. The Cityzens have not won the Champions League and have had some of the most unlucky and embarrassing exits.

Did Pep ruin Yaya Toure's football career
Yaya Toure of Man City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion at Etihad Stadium on May 9th, 2018, in Manchester, England. Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt.
Source: Getty Images

Where did the Yaya Toure curse come from?

It came to public awareness after Toure's agent declared that an 'African Curse' would strike at Guardiola because of how he treated African players in the squad (minimal game time for African players, including his client Yaya Toure).

In 2016, Dmitri Seluk told Sport24 that Guardiola was "a worthless person" before his prediction:

"The way he behaved toward club legend Yaya, making excuses not to let him play. He has turned the continent of Africa against him, and many African supporters of Manchester City have abandoned the club.
And I do not doubt that many African witch doctors will prevent Guardiola from winning the Champions League ever again. It will affect Guardiola similarly to an African curse. I'll know if I'm right or wrong in due time.

Because Guardiola's predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini, was still in charge at the time, the Russian agent also referred to the appointment of Guardiola in Manchester as "nasty." He also mocked the 47-year-track old's record at Bayern Munich and insisted that his accomplishments at City thus far are not particularly noteworthy given the sums of money he has spent.

Yaya Toure and Pep Guardiola
Yaya Toure of Manchester City waves to the fans after he makes his final appearance for the club at Etihad Stadium on May 9, 2018, in Manchester, England. Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt.
Source: Getty Images

Toure, 39, played his final game for City against Brighton & Hove Albion in May 2016 and departed the club as a three-time Premier League winner.

However, the Brighton appearance was his only Premier League start of the previous term, and he never featured as prominently in a City shirt following Guardiola's appointment early in 2016. Seluk also proffered a "come-and-get-me" plea for Toure amid the Guardiola bashing.

The Yaya Toure and Pep Guardiola relationship

Yaya revealed in March 2022 that Pep Guardiola still hasn't responded to his apology for his remarks about the Spaniard's capacity to work with Africans four years earlier. He worked under Guardiola twice during his trophy-laden career, first at Barcelona, where they won the Champions League together, before reuniting at Manchester City in the Premier League.

Toure's final campaign at the Etihad ended in disappointment because he only made one start in the season's last home game, which was played with the title already secured.

Yaya Toure's curse on Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, and Yaya Toure of Manchester City at London Stadium on January 6, 2017, in London, England. Photo by Catherine Ivill.
Source: Getty Images

Speaking to France Football after leaving City, he questioned his former boss's attitude towards Africans and stated in the interview: ''It got to the point I asked myself if it was because of my color. I am not the first. Other Barcelona players asked the question.''

Did Pep ruin Yaya Toure's football career?

The manager, a former midfielder himself, did not always get along with the Ivorian in a "sweet" way. Toure fell out of favor when Sergio Busquets, a player from the B team, was given the holding midfielder position by Guardiola.

Nevertheless, he participated in 77 games for Guardiola, winning the Copa del Rey and the Champions League while playing central defence in the championship games. As a result, he left the team with two Spanish league championships.

Therefore, despite the lukewarm relationship between the African and the manager, the Ivorian still had a very successful career with many accolades and titles.

The story behind the Yaya Toure's Man City curse

It was brought by the idea that Toure and Pep Guardiola don't get along in part, because of racism, a claim Toure made shortly after he left Manchester City in 2016.

Right after Manchester City's Champions League loss to Olympique Lyonnais in 2018, Dimitri Seluk published an extremely opinionated cartoon to prove the curse still existed. Unfortunately, Yaya Toure's curse on Pep Guardiola has worked to date (December 2022).

Yaya Toure's birthday cake

On May 11, 2014, Manchester City won the Premier League for the second time. However, they were so engrossed in their celebration that they forgot to buy Yaya a cake for his birthday two days later.

The story behind the Yaya Toure's Man City curse
Yaya Toure of Man City during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion at Etihad Stadium on May 9, 2018, in Manchester, England. Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt.
Source: Getty Images

The birthday cake incident got so out of hand that the Ivorian desired to leave the Etihad. Later, he downplayed the incident but acknowledged that his ignorance in not receiving a celebratory birthday cake had left him "damaged" and had a long-lasting impact on his day-to-day activities.

Yaya Toure's net worth

The legendary African footballer is worth $70 million. This sum represents all of the significant assets that he owns. According to his sponsorship agreement with Puma, a portion of his endorsement revenue will be used to provide poor West Africans with shoes and clothing.

The Yaya Toure curse has prevailed in the past six years since when it was publicly declared by his agent Dmitri. The Cityzens have failed to get success in the Champions League despite the squad's depth and success in the domestic league.

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