How birthday cake saga "damaged" Yaya Toure and led to underwhelming Man City exit
Manchester City legend Yaya Toure is celebrating his 39th birthday today - and fans will be hoping someone remembers to buy him a cake.
The midfielder City bought from Barcelona enjoyed a memorable eight-year spell at the Etihad, helping the club to lift seven major trophies including three Premier League titles. Toure also scored the winning goal in the 2011 FA Cup final against Stoke City to secure the first piece of silverware of the club's new era.
However, Toure's standing with City was irrevocably tarnished by the infamous yet bizarre row over a birthday cake in 2014. Two days after Manuel Pellegrini's side secured the club's second Premier League title, the Ivory Coast international's agent Dimitri Seluk slammed City for not properly marking the midfielder's 31st birthday.
Toure initially appeared to distance himself from the remarks, only to then seemingly agree with his agent with a Tweet which read 'Everything Dimitri said is true. He speaks for me. I will explain after the World Cup'. The midfielder spent a further four seasons at the Etihad, but in an interview with the Times described how the curious episode damaged him.
He told the Times : “It’s crazy. The birthday cake damaged me a lot. When people see me in France or Africa, they say ‘You want cake?’ I was so p***ed [off]. I was telling him [Seluk], you should not do that, no need. I talked with Khaldoon [Al Mubarak, City’s chairman], and I was saying, ‘It is not me, don’t worry’.
“The bad mistake I did was doing [tweeting] ‘OK, he [Seluk] is right’. That’s the one that’s killing me. People started to believe what he said is me. The fans were reading this, thinking bad about me, and I can understand it.
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“Before the birthday cake. I accepted it [Seluk’s antics], because I respect [him]. You have to give him credit too, because he has helped me through a lot. But he did a lot of bad things. It was too much.”
Seluk further emphasised this rift between Toure and his former manager in the aftermath of the midfielder's exit in 2018, making the bizarre claim over 'African shamans' preventing the former Bayern Munich boss from winning the Champions League. The agent said: "The way he acted towards Yaya, a club legend, coming up with various pretexts not to let him play.
"He has set all of Africa against him, many African fans have turned away from Manchester City. And I am sure that many African shamans will not let Guardiola win the Champions League in future. It will be like an African curse on Guardiola. Time will tell if I am right or not."
Toure's time with City ended in sour fashion, with the club legend making just one start in his final season before moving on to Olympiakos. He only played for the Greek side twice, however, before his contract was torn up just months after he signed it.