In Depth

Yaya Toure hit by tidal wave of scorn after 'birthday snub'

Claims midfielder wants to leave Man City over of the size of his birthday cake do not go down well

Yaya Toure has been branded a "spoiled brat", a "ludicrous wuss", a "stupid egotistical big baby" and much, much worse, after confirming yesterday that he was considering leaving Manchester City because the club did not wish him 'happy birthday' in suitable fashion last week.

The Ivory Coast midfielder, reportedly paid £200,000 a week by his club, turned 31 on Tuesday last week, and by happy coincidence his anniversary coincided with a lavish party thrown for the Premier League-winning City players at the five-star St Regis Resort Hotel on Abu Dhabi.

But it was in this rarefied atmosphere that City bigwigs apparently disrespected and humiliated Toure – by presenting him with an inadequate birthday cake and not making an effort to shake his hand.

The story emerged on Tuesday via Toure's agent, Dimitry Seluk, who said that his client was thinking of leaving the club because of the disrespect it had shown him. At first the claims were treated with scepticism, which later turned to bewilderment and then astonishment as it became apparent that the story wasn't a hoax.

Seluk did little to help his or his client's cause by pointing out that former Brazilian star Roberto Carlos was once presented with a Bugatti on his birthday by Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

Unsurprisingly, the result was a tidal wave of abuse. Toure was ridiculed on social media as his name became the top trend on Twitter.

The Yaya Toure birthday story is, frankly, one of the silliest I have ever heard in any sport.

— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) May 20, 2014

@Toure_yaya42 Seriously. Are you 31 or 13? Thanks for everything, we couldn’t have done it without you, but…

— Paul Lomax (@PaulLomax) May 20, 2014

I bet those people in Syria feel for Yaya Toure not having a birthday wish. #prayforyaya

— David Earl (@henryhowardfun) May 20, 2014

Having run the gauntlet on Twitter, Toure was subjected to a second wave of scorn from traditional media.

"Even in a game drunk on money and tarnished by preening popinjays, this act of vanity almost carries the power to astonish," gasps Jonathan McEvoy in the Daily Mail. He blames not only "ego-mad players and greedy agents", but also the clubs who indulge them.

"We're used to professional athletes behaving like little children," says Alan Tyers of the Daily Telegraph. But it comes as a shock to see Toure, who is a "warrior-king" on the field, behaving like "an overtired six-year-old girl" off it.

Has there ever been such a "ludicrous excuse" for leaving a football club "as the nonsense dreamt up by Toure and his representative yesterday," wonders James Ducker of The Times. Simply asking for a transfer would have at least been "rational" he adds. "Yet by concocting a story that would embarrass a 13-year-old... Toure and Seluk served only to make fools of themselves."

He is particularly aggrieved as Toure's moaning comes after a season in which City "could not have done much more to accommodate the Ivorian", backing him over disciplinary issues and in a racism row involving CSKA Moscow, as well as making him their highest-paid player.

Even at a club that has had to deal with the likes of Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli in recent years, "Cakegate, as it is certain to become known, leaves a distinctly unpleasant taste in the mouth", he adds.

Recommended

Newcastle’s Saudi takeover: what is ‘sportswashing’?
Newcastle play their home games at St James’ Park
In Focus

Newcastle’s Saudi takeover: what is ‘sportswashing’?

Who is Banksy?
Banksy's Love In The Bin artwork
In Depth

Who is Banksy?

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: how football’s two superstars compare

‘We are not robots’: Uefa and Fifa under fire
Thibaut Courtois in action for Belgium against Italy in the Uefa Nations League third-placed match
View from the terraces

‘We are not robots’: Uefa and Fifa under fire

Popular articles

Why a ‘super-cold’ is spreading
flu_sneeze.jpg
Getting to grips with . . .

Why a ‘super-cold’ is spreading

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’
A nurse
Tall Tales

Former nurse says NHS made her ‘fart against her will’

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 October 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 13 October 2021

The Week Footer Banner