Yaya Toure: Man City hope to match Barcelona and Real Madrid

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have been looking ahead to Friday’s International Champions Cup clash with Los Blancos in Melbourne, as preparations continue ahead of the new season

Yaya Toure believes Manchester City need to keep improving their team as they look to reach the same heights as the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

City have been busy in the transfer market ahead of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Patrick Roberts so far.

But former Barca man Toure, who insisted he intends to see out his contract at City in a media conference on Thursday, insists the club still have work to do in the window to reach the same status as the Spanish and European powerhouses.

“I think the target of the club is to reach that kind of level,” he said. “Madrid level, Barcelona level. The manager as well, the club, the chairman are working very hard. At the moment the market is not so easy.

“We are looking from far, how many outgoings, how clubs are selling those players. The most important thing is the players staying at the club as well, trying to improve, try to do their best.

“If we are doing well, some good players are going to come. The difference between Madrid and Barcelona is trophies and quality of player as well.

“Here we are a young team and we have a couple of young players coming through and what we have to do is continue to work hard.

“We believe in the chairman, that he can do something to bring quality players into the squad to try to make the squad better.

“This year is going to be a massive challenge for us, for the manager and we need to bounce back and support our fans because they have supported us through the years.

“For us its most important that we have to do well this year and try to make them proud.”

Dzeko left out due to possible Manchester City exit, confirms Pellegrini

The former Wolfsburg striker looks set to leave this summer and played no part against suitors Roma on Tuesday, while midfielder Yaya Toure expects to see out his contract

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says that striker Edin Dzeko was left out of their pre-season encounter with Roma due to uncertainty over his future at the club.

The Bosnia-Herzegovina international has been linked with a move away from the Etihad Stadium for many months and his exit is expected to be completed soon as the Giallorossi look to tie up a deal.

Dzeko played no part as the two sides met in the International Champions Cup on Tuesday, with Pellegrini confirming that it was a direct result of the transfer negotiations.

“Edin didn’t play the last game as it’s not clear if he will continue here but he is still working here with the whole squad,” the City boss told reporters.

Ahead of an encounter with Real Madrid on Friday, Pellegrini also announced that Fabian Delph would likely make his debut following his move from Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, fellow midfielder Yaya Toure was also in attendance and, when quizzed about his future, the Ivorian declared his intention to stay.

“There was too much speculation about me leaving,” said Toure. “It’s clear that I have my contract at City and I want to see out my contract.”

Meanwhile, Pellegrini, a former Real Madrid coach, is looking forward to facing his former employers in front of a huge crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

“We are in pre-season and it’s a friendly but the fans deserve a good game – I’m sure Real Madrid and us will play a good game,” he enthused. “Playing in front of 90,000 is big for the players – although the result is not important, both teams will try to win.

“It’s always special to play against Real Madrid, especially because of the way the fans supported me when I left there.”

Moratti: Kondogbia better for Inter than Yaya Toure

The Nerazzurri paid Monaco an estimated €40 million for the midfielder but the club’s former president believes he still represents better value than the Ivorian

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti believes Geoffrey Kondogbia represents a far better signing for the club than Yaya Toure.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini repeatedly expressed his desire to be reunited with Toure, with whom he won a Premier League title during his time in charge of Manchester City.

However, the Ivorian decided to stay at the Etihad, prompting Inter to turn their attention to Kondogbia, who joined the club for a fee in the region of €40 million from Monaco.

Despite the huge outlay, Moratti believes his successor, Erick Thohir, has done a great piece of business, arguing that Kondogbia has much more to offer than the 32-year-old Toure.

“Is he even more suited to Inter than Yaya? Yes, certainly, both in terms of his lower wage and his age,” the oil tycoon told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Thohir called me, because by the rules of the club, he must have my consent for operations above €20m.

“I immediately felt very strongly about the deal and I was happy to give my ok. It was a major operation, but the alternatives were even more expensive.

“Also, you can build an entire project on a boy of just 22. Toure is more experienced but Kondogbia will be spurred on by the fans and will grow with the team.

“He chose Inter because he saw that we can take the next step forward together. I think it was a very important purchase for everyone involved.

“It’s good for the needs of the team in order to allow Mancini to work more calmly, and to lift the whole club by bringing enthusiasm to the fans.

“Thohir could have just got by for a few years. Instead, he’s building a team to win.”

Indeed, Moratti has been enthused by Thohir’s other transfer dealings, with Inter already having signed Jeison Murillo from Granada, Miranda from Atletico Madrid and Martin Montoya from Barcelona.

“I know little about the Colombian [Murillo] but he had a great Copa America,” he stated.

“The Brazilian [Miranda] is strong and experienced, something that will help him fit in quickly.

“As for the Spaniard, one only needs to look at the club he’s coming from…”

Having brought in a midfielder and three new defenders, it is now thought that Inter will look to sign a high-profile striker and the San Siro side have been linked with former forward Mario Balotelli, who has struggled since joining Liverpool from AC Milan last year.

However, Moratti does not believe there is much chance of the Nerazzurri re-signing the Italy international.

“I have not heard any talk about him in recent months,” the ex-Inter supremo added.

“Mario is a great guy and I still hope that he gets back to his best.

“But now I do not think that he would be deemed functional within this project.”

Manchester City want to bounce back from 'disappointing' campaign – Yaya Toure

The Ivorian midfielder accepts that his side underperformed in 2014-15 but is hopeful of setting things right after his first chance in a long time to seriously rest for a summer

Manchester City’s players are desperate to make the club successful again after last season’s frustrations, says Yaya Toure.

Toure has rejected speculation that he will leave City during the close-season, despite Inter – coached by former City boss Roberto Mancini – expressing their interest in his services.

The Ivorian returned to pre-season training on Tuesday and reiterated his desire to remain at the Etihad Stadium, with silverware firmly on his mind.

“I’m just really looking forward to next season and it feels great to be back,” Toure told City’s official website.

“I’m going to work as hard as I can in pre-season and we’re already looking forward to playing in front of our own fans again in six weeks or so.

“I’ve had a good summer with plenty of rest and I’ve just relaxed as much as possible so I can be ready for the new season. I’ve had two or three years full of competition and constant playing and it was a break I really needed.

“I’m not the biggest fan of pre-season, if I’m honest, but we all know we have to prepare well and eat properly so we’re good to go at the start of the season.

“As for predictions, I don’t want to say we’ll do this or that – just that we have our targets and we want to make the fans and this club proud. Last season was disappointing by our own standards because we know we could have done better.

“We are looking forward to welcoming some new players as well, which will strengthen the team, and together we want to achieve something really big this year. We are looking forward to bouncing back very strongly.”

I want to be Manchester City's Maldini, says Yaya Toure

The midfielder was linked with a move to Inter earlier this summer but insists he is happy at the Etihad Stadium and wants to replicate the Italy great’s longevity

Yaya Toure insists he is happy at Manchester City and wants to stay at the club for a long time.

Toure has been strongly linked with a summer move to Inter, where he would be reunited with former City boss Roberto Mancini, after the Italian claimed the midfielder was keen on a move.

But the 32-year-old now seems certain to remain with Manuel Pellegrini’s side and is targeting becoming a legendary figure at the club like Paolo Mandini is at AC Milan.

“That’s the dream for all the players,” Toure told the Manchester Evening News. “I was trying to convince some players to continue at the club and they said ‘why?’

“Because it was the case of Maldini, it was the case of [Franco Baresi], of [Alessandro] Del Piero – so many important players. [Francesco] Totti as well.

“They stayed at the club for a long time.”

Toure held talks about his future with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak in May, with Inter reportedly keen to bring him to San Siro.

The Ivory Coast international ultimately opted to stay put and admitted the City supporters played a big part in that decision.

“It is very, very important as a person and as a football player as well when you see people are following you,” he said. “It is difficult sometimes to disappoint them.

“The fans are doing brilliant for this club. When people show you loyalty, nothing is going by. That’s why I want to stay at City. I want to stay for a long time.”