Ivory Coast–born soccer star Yaya Touré helped Manchester City win its first Premier League title in 44 years in 2012.
“I just had a normal African childhood: We played football a lot, but it was always in the street and always without shoes. Boots were very expensive, and when there are seven in your family and you say you want to buy a pair, your father wants to kill you.”
Born on May 13, 1983, in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, Yaya Touré began his European soccer career in Belgium in 2001. After rising to prominence in the Greek and French leagues, the midfielder helped FC Barcelona win six titles in 2009. Touré then became teammates with his older brother in Manchester City and emerged as a fan favorite for helping the English club end its lengthy championship drought.
Gnégnéri Yaya Touré was born on May 13, 1983, in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, and spent much of his childhood in the city of Abidjan. Although he grew up with little money and didn’t own his first pair of football shoes until age 10, Touré displayed obvious athletic talents in street games with siblings and friends. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Kolo, Touré became a prominent player for the youth team of the Abidjan-based ASEC Mimosas.
Early European Career
Touré began his European career in 2001 at K.S.K. Beveren, a Belgian club that featured several African players. He moved to the Ukraine’s FC Metalurh Donetsk in 2003 and then to Olympiacos FC in Greece in 2005, gaining valuable experience while adding muscle to his 6’2″ frame. After helping Olympiacos win the league title and Greek Cup in 2006, the midfielder proudly suited up for the Ivory Coast’s first FIFA World Cup squad that summer before moving to AS Monaco for a season.
Spanish and English Success
Signed by Spanish giants FC Barcelona in 2007, Touré was a member of the star-studded club that won an unprecedented six trophies during the 2009 calendar year. The Champions League victory came with Touré playing out of position at center-back, and he helped Barcelona win a second straight league title in 2010 before making his second consecutive World Cup appearance that summer for the Ivory Coast.
Seeking to play alongside Kolo, Touré joined England’s Manchester City club in July 2010. It was a highly successful move, as Touré scored the lone goal in the 2011 FA Cup final to give Manchester City its first major title in 35 years, and then led the club to its first Premier League championship in 44 years the following season. Celebrated both in England and in his home country, Touré was named African Footballer of the Year for the second consecutive time in 2012.