Yaya Toure’s Manchester City career could be over after after his controversial agent became embroiled in a heated war of words with manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola said on Tuesday he will not pick Toure again unless his outspoken representative, Dimitri Seluk, apologises for his recent public remarks.
Earlier this month Seluk accused Guardiola of humiliating Toure by leaving him out of City’s Champions League squad.
Yet that is a comment the Ukrainian seems willing to stand by after he responded to the former Barcelona boss on live TV.
Seluk told Sky Sports News: “I don’t why I – or Yaya – must apologise because I didn’t say anything special. I live in a democratic country and I can say what I want. Guardiola will not tell me what I must say or what I must not say.
“If I have the feeling I must apologise I will apologise, but I don’t feel, for these words, I must apologise. What Guardiola wants is not possible.”
Seluk also claimed it is Guardiola who should be saying sorry and reckons former manager Manuel Pellegrini, because of the manner in which he was replaced, and goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is now on loan at Torino, are also owed apologies.
“He must apologise with Yaya, Hart and Pellegrini,” he said.
Toure has featured just once in eight games this season and Guardiola’s decision to leave him out of his 25-man squad for the Champions League had seemed an indicator he was surplus to requirements.
But it is now clear Toure’s exclusion for the Premier League games since has not solely been for tactical reasons.
Asked if the 33-year-old could play in Wednesday’s EFL Cup tie at Swansea, Guardiola said: “He is not in the team.”
When asked for the reason, Guardiola, said: “It was so difficult for me to put him out of the Champions League, so difficult. I know him, I know he’s a good good guy.
“But the day after, his manager (agent) spoke. In that moment Yaya is out. I accept if Mr Dimitri Seluk came in a press conference or (spoke to) his friends in the media – because he has not the courage to call me – and apologised to Manchester City, his team-mates and the trainer. When that happens, Yaya will be part of the group and he will have the same chance to play all the games.
“I cannot accept as a coach, every manager (agent), when his player doesn’t play, going to the media to speak and speak and speak.”
City have long been frustrated by Seluk’s frequent media outbursts. Most notoriously in 2014 he accused City of failing to show Toure enough respect on his birthday, not even giving him a cake. The previous year he complained there were not enough shirts with Toure’s name on them for sale in the club shop.
Pellegrini often refused to comment when asked about Toure’s agent, but it seems Guardiola has no time for him.
He said: “I cannot imagine in my period when I was a football player, my manager (agent) going to the media and speaking against Johan Cruyff, about this and about that.
“Maybe it’s a new era now, the new period changing, but I’m an old guy. I am old generation. Until he doesn’t speak, Yaya is not going to play.”
Seluk pointed out that Toure, who is in the final year of his contract, could soon leave the club.
“From January, Yaya can be a player free and can sign with every club,” he said.