The Ivorian’s notebook full of musings on the “mysteries of the game” features in the latest of our series chronicling the extraordinary power of belief
Unlike brother Kolo, who famously missed the start of the second half of Arsenal’s Champions League match against Roma in 2009 because he was waiting for William Gallas (who was still receiving treatment for a half time injury) to emerge from the dressing room so that he could be the last onto the pitch, Manchester City star Yaya Toure has adopted a more scientific – and intriguing approach to the game.
He carries a note book around with him in which he writes down ideas which he hopes “will crack the eternal mysteries of the game”. “Like physicists who try throughout their careers to crack a scientific code, I’m trying to break all the mysteries of football. I have complete faith that a deeper level of thinking will make me a better player,” Toure told France Football in 2013.
The Cote d’Ivoire international also added that within his note book, he critiques all his opponents, and makes notes on his own performance. It would be easy to mock Toure’s scholarly approach to football, but Toure insists that “deep thinking about my sport helps makes me a better player, and focuses my mind.”
He’s not the only foreign star in the Premier League to take a cerebral approach. Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o goes through his own pre-match analysis of the opposition defence, noting precisely how players distribute the ball and which goalkeepers like to dribble, but Toure’s admission that he likes to study football, and his belief that the game “is a science,” is a refreshing change from the anti-intellectual dogma that has often blighted the English game. In time, Toure wants to utilise his findings as a coach.