Yaya Toure hails eclipsing of Man Utd as Man City exit looms

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Yaya Toure is set to play his final home game for City against Brighton on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Yaya Toure is set to play his final home game for City against Brighton on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Yaya Toure hails eclipsing of Man Utd as Man City exit looms

  • Ivorian leaving after eight years at City
  • 'We had to remove United – they were such a force'

LONDON: Yaya Toure ranks deposing bitter rivals Manchester United as one of the greatest achievements during his time at Manchester City as he prepares to leave the Premier League champions.
City have won the league three times during the Ivorian’s eight-year stint at the club as well as four domestic cups and have become one of the highest-profile clubs in the game.
“When I came to City, we could not compare, they (United) had so many trophies, so many Champions League finals,” said the 34-year-old, who is leaving the Etihad at the end of the season.
“But that was the purpose — to come to City, to put United in the shadow, although that would be difficult. The semifinal was a big part of it.”
The semifinal referred to was in the FA Cup in 2011, a tense derby against United which Toure settled with the only goal early in the second half. City went on to win the final and end a 35-year wait for a trophy, validating the vast expenditure lavished on the club since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008.
“United were in our way,” said the midfielder. “We had to remove them, they were such a force.
“Coming into the game they had such confidence, they thought they were going to beat us. I’ll never forget it, they missed big chances. At half-time we were nearly fighting in the dressing room.
“We said ‘go out and play like men — or we go home again and say to (chairman) Khaldoon, ‘thank you, we’ve eaten the money but we move on because this club will never achieve’.
“We had that chat and you saw a different City in the second half. That’s why we won the game. It was brilliant, awesome.”
Toure is set for a huge ovation as he plays his final home game for City against Brighton at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Ivorian has been one of the club’s most influential players since his arrival from Barcelona in 2010 and was a driving force in the Premier League successes of 2012 and 2014.
His influence has decreased since and he made only nine appearances, all off the bench, in this season’s title win.
“I am very sad about it,” said Toure, who is not planning to retire. “I wanted to be more part of it on the field, not out of the field.
“But look in our dressing room and they are all competitors now, with the will to win and to achieve. It’s a great ability, and I love it.”
Manager Pep Guardiola has assured Toure of a starting spot on Wednesday and a number of tributes are being planned.


Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

Updated 22 July 2019
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Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

  • Princess Nourah thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Saad has officially become the first Saudi woman to be president of a sports club. Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported recently that the princess had successfully acquired the Umbrian football club Spoleto.

Speaking at a press conference, the princess thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future. 

“Football is a family passion, and Italian football is followed all over the world. This is why I chose to invest in Umbria,” she said. 

Princess Nourah chose the team after considering several aspects. “Spoleto is a small, amateur football organization where it is possible to work with the aim of growing and aiming for promotion. But we cannot fail to consider the value and beauty of the city of Spoleto, which is famous throughout the world.” Spoleto is a member of Serie D of the Italian non-professional football association, Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  The association represents more than 12,000 football players and 400 football teams across Italy and is considered the fourth-ranked league in the country. Under the princess’s presidency, the team aims to ascend to Serie C in the near future, and further in the long term.

Spoleto announced that they have formally registered for the Excellence Umbria 2019/2020 championship and the Regional Junior Championship 2019/2020.

This purchase marks the Saudi royal family’s second venture into sports club ownership. Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad co-owns English Premier League football club Sheffield United.