THE future of Yaya Toure at Manchester City is the subject of speculation after a confusing and farcical day of comments from the player and his agent.
Toure's outspoken representative, Dimitry Seluk, intially said Toure may quit the club this summer because he felt under-appreciated and disrespected. He also attracted some ridicule by claiming the player's chief complaint was a lack of acknowledgement of his 31st birthday during last week's post-season tour of Abu Dhabi.
This grievance was soon exposed as untrue as media highlighted a video City published last week of Toure being presented with a birthday cake. The club also tweeted a birthday message at the time.
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Seluk responded by attempting to clarify his remarks, insisting that those measures did not go far enough.
"He got a cake but when it was Roberto Carlos' birthday, the president of Anzhi [Makhachkala] gave him a Bugatti," was one of his more remarkable comments, although he did add he did not expect City to give Toure a car.
Toure then weighed in and appeared to put an end to the matter as he joked about the birthday comments and then underlined his commitment to City.
The Ivory Coast internationalist tweeted: "Please do not take words that do not come out of MY mouth seriously. Judge my commitment to @MCFC by my performances."
But around an hour later, Toure appeared to perform a volte-face, changing his position and endorsing that of Seluk. He tweeted: "Everything dimitry said is true. He speaks for me. I will give an interview after world cup to explain."
Seluk then took to the airwaves again to reiterate his earlier statements. He insisted the birthday issue remained a bone of contention.
"This happened on May 13," Seulk said. "Today is May 20. Until now nobody from staff called Yaya and said sorry. It was really was not right. If they don't want Yaya, no problem. We can leave any moment, without any problem."
n Ligue 1 runners-up Monaco have announced the departure of head coach Claudio Ranieri.
The 62-year-old Italian joined the principality club in May 2012 and secured promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking, but leaves after failing to beat Paris St Germain to the French championship.