Pep Guardiola has vowed that Yaya Toure will not play for Manchester City again until an apology is received over controversial comments attributed to outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk. The statements were made following Seluk's client's 'humiliating' omission from the club's squad to contest the group stages of the Champions League.
With Uefa rules preventing Guardiola from naming more than 17 overseas players for home and away ties against Borussia Monchengladbach, Barcelona and Celtic, Toure proved to be the odd man out, having made only one solitary start for City in 2016-17 in a European play-off second-leg tie against Romanian outfit Steaua Bucharest in which last season's semi-finalists already held a 5-0 aggregate advantage.
Such an oversight was met with a feisty reaction from Seluk, who claimed to respect Guardiola's decision but added that "if he wins the Champions League for City this season then I will travel to England and I will say on television that Pep Guardiola is the best manager in the world".
If they do not win the competition, however, then Toure's representative claimed he hoped that "Pep has got the balls to say that he was wrong to humiliate a great player like Yaya."
Toure, now into the final year of his contract, has not made another appearance since the 1-0 defeat of Steaua and has yet to even be named as a substitute during the early stages of a Premier League campaign. City have maintained a 100% start under their new boss and built a two-point buffer at the top of the league table following five successive victories over Sunderland, Stoke City, West Ham United, Manchester United and Bournemouth. That predicament seemingly won't change anytime soon either, unless Guardiola receives an apology.
"He must apologise to his teammates. He must apologise to the club," the manager was quoted as saying by BBC Sport at a press conference held before Wednesday's (21 September) EFL Cup third-round trip to Swansea City. "If he doesn't, he won't play."
He added: "An agent has to make his job. If he has a problem he should speak to people at the club. But the day after, his agent went to the media. He [Yaya] has not had the courage to call me."
Guardiola's comments on Toure came just minutes after the latter publicly announced his retirement from international football. The 33-year-old, winner of four consecutive African Player of the Year awards between 2011-14, earned 102 caps in 12 years with the Ivory Coast and captained The Elephants in Equatorial Guinea last year as they finally ended their long wait for a second Africa Cup of Nations title with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over rivals Ghana. However, he has not represented his country since then and will not travel with Michel Dussuyer's squad to Gabon in January as they seek to defend their title.
While Toure will not face Swansea, Guardiola revealed that captain Vincent Kompany "has a chance of playing" after making the bench for the 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday (17 September). He also confirmed that the game will come too soon for Fernando to return, but Fabian Delph is said to have recovered from a knock. City's squad is expected to feature several talented youngsters, including exciting 17-year-old prospect Brahim Diaz and right-back Pablo Maffeo.