Yaya Toure's agent, Dimitri Seluk, has spoken out regarding his humiliated client's absence from the 21-man Manchester City squad that will contest the group stage of the 2016-17 Champions League. With Pep Guardiola limited by current Uefa rules to naming a maximum of 17 overseas players for home and away ties against Borussia Monchengladbach, Celtic and Barcelona, Manuel Pellegrini's successor opted to leave out the experienced Ivorian midfielder altogether.
Despite Toure's previous importance to the City cause – he has won two top-flight titles and three domestic cups since arriving from Guardiola's Barcelona in a £24m ($32m) deal six years ago – his omission did not exactly come as a great shock.
This is because the 33-year-old, who many had expected to depart the Etihad Stadium this summer with his current contract due to expire in June 2017, has yet to be included in a single Premier League matchday squad under the new regime and made his one solitary appearance of the season to date during a 1-0 European play-off round second-leg victory over Steaua Bucharest in August.
City held a five-goal aggregate advantage going into that tie courtesy of a Sergio Aguero-inspired rout in Romania.
Responding to Toure's lack of Champions League participation, the frequently outspoken Seluk told The Mirror: "It is Pep's decision and we must respect 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.
"But if City don't win the Champions League then I hope that Pep has got the balls to say that he was wrong to humiliate a great player like Yaya. This is Pep's decision and we must respect it."
Toure has been linked with a move away from City on numerous occasions over recent transfer windows, yet Guardiola revealed in advance of deadline day that the player had expressed a desire to stay and that he was willing to offer him that chance. The manager also praised his behaviour and versatility. With no new City deal forthcoming and his career with the club all but over, Toure will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with interested suitors in January.