The regret often linked with birthday cakes is when you eat too much of them. But in Yaya Toure’s case, it occurred when he did not receive enough.
Manchester City had just won their second Premier League title two days earlier. Things couldn’t have gone better on the blue side of Manchester as they regained control from neighbours Manchester United. Then, two days later, a peculiar disagreement erupted.
It all started when Toure’s agent, Dimitri Seluk, claimed City had not properly celebrated the midfield lynchpin’s birthday, creating frenzied conjecture over a missing cake. Regardless of how ludicrous the circumstance was, it posed a real threat to his stay at the Etihad.
Toure was really wished a happy birthday by the club’s Twitter account, and he received a cake and a song as the team flew out for a post-season trip to Abu Dhabi, but it didn’t calm Seluk down. “No one shook his hand on his birthday. Seluk told BBC Sport: “It’s really sick.” “He received a cake, but when it was Roberto Carlos’ birthday, the president of Anzhi gave him a Bugatti.
“I don’t expect City to give Yaya with a Bugatti; all we requested was that they shake his hand and say, ‘We congratulate you’. It is the bare minimum they can do when it is his birthday and the entire squad is together.
“I hear one newspaper reported that City congratulated him via Twitter, but this is a joke. It is preferable that they do not post anything on Twitter if they are not speaking to him. The club’s owners celebrated their Premier League victory with a 100kg cake, but none of them shook his hand on his birthday. It demonstrates that they don’t care about him.
“Of course, Yaya is furious about it. If this happened to you as a BBC journalist and no one shook your hand, you’d say goodbye and go to work somewhere else. “It is normal.”
Yaya Toure is offered a cake during a flight to Abu Dhabi. (Image: BBC).
Toure originally distanced himself from the allegations, tweeting: “Don’t take words that do not come from my mouth seriously.” Paulo Teixeira, Roberto Carlos’ agent, was not pleased with the statements. “I don’t see why this is coming out,” he told BBC World. “It has nothing to do with the player’s contract. Toure has enough money to buy ten to twenty Bugattis. This is about egos.
“If Yaya’s agent says this, it’s because he understands his player and what he needs, and he may be attempting to get the club’s management to do something for the player. But I’m not sure why they’re picking up on this; it’s almost ludicrous.”
Toure then went on to support his agency, posting a now-deleted tweet that read: “Everything Dimitri said is accurate. He speaks for me. “I’ll explain after the World Cup.”
Seluk warned that the birthday snub could lead to Toure’s early exit from City, despite the fact that his contract is still valid for four years. “There is a big possibility Yaya will leave this summer,” he told reporters.
“He is quite upset. What happened on his birthday indicates that the club does not care about him. That was proof. They can say whatever they want, such as ‘Oh, we like him, but we forgot’. Forgot? What about Yaya? Who was the player who helped you win two Premier League championships? Who helped you win the FA Cup and League Cup?”
Yaya Toure’s Cake (Image: BBC)
Despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, Toure remained in Manchester and attempted to dismiss the incident in September, saying, “My agent made a little joke about it and people took it seriously.” I was startled by how people and the media reacted to that.
“Over the summer, there was a lot of conjecture about birthday cakes and other such topics. It was disheartening to me. I’ve been in Manchester for four years and have never asked a birthday cake.
The Ivorian icon fulfilled his contract and completed his trophy-laden stint at Manchester City by winning a third Premier League title, despite playing little in Pep Guardiola’s team. Toure spoke to The Times 18 months after leaving to express his sadness over the event.
“That’s crazy. The birthday cake caused significant damage to me. When people meet me in France or Africa, they remark, ‘You want cake?’ I was p***ed off. I was telling him [Seluk], ‘You should not do that, there is no reason’. I spoke with Khaldoon [Al Mubarak] and told him, ‘It is not me, don’t worry.
“The horrible error I made was tweeting ‘OK, he [Seluk] is correct’. That’s the one that is killing me. People began to believe what he was saying about me. The fans were reading this and feeling awful about me, and I understand.
“Before the birthday cake.” I accepted Seluk’s pranks because I respected him. You also have to give him credit since he has helped me a lot. However, he did a
- lot of awful things. It was too much.