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Yaya Toure becomes the latest big-name to move to Saudi Arabia

Yaya Toure
© jpellgen

The former FC Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder has moved to the Middle East to continue his coaching career.

Yaya Toure has linked up with his old Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini in Saudi Arabia.

The 40-year-old has become part of Mancini’s coaching staff for the country’s national team. He has left his role at Standard Liege with immediate effect, ending a four-month spell at the Belgian club.

“I have always looked up to Roberto – so to work with him and learn from him is a perfect fit,” Toure explained on X.

“When Roberto asked if I would join him in Saudi Arabia for this important project, while it was difficult to step away from Standard Liege, I knew it was the right move for me.

“Being part of football in Saudi Arabia gives me an opportunity to work in a Muslim country for the first time in my career. This is something I have always wanted to do.

“Although it was short, positive memories of my time at Standard Liege will never leave me – I now have a special bond with this great club.”

Since ending his playing career in 2019, Toure has held four coaching roles.

The former Ivory Coast international started out with Olimpik Donetsk in 2021 as an assistant coach. He left the Ukranian club after three months to join Russian side Akhmat Grozny in June that year.

Toure left Akhmat Grozny at the end of 2021 and went on to spend a season as the manager of Tottenham’s U-16 squad, before joining Standard Liege last summer.

Mancini will hope the arrival of a familiar face will help him turn things around. The Italian has lost three of his four games in charge of Saudi Arabia. He has yet to oversee a single win.

Saudi Arabia will be back in action on November 16 in a second-round World Cup qualifier against Pakistan.