Yaya Toure has surprisingly been named on the shortlist for the BBC African Footballer of the Year award, despite having one of the worst 12 months of his career.
Toure has been frozen out of action at Manchester City after a row between his agent and Pep Guardiola, making just one appearance in six months, and has also retired from international football with Ivory Coast.
But when the BBC announced their shortlist for the award, the midfielder, who won the prize in 2013 and 2015, was named alongside Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, West Ham forward Andre Ayew and Riyad Mahrez, Premier League title winner with Leicester City.
Toure, who has also been named the Confederation of African Football’s player of the year on four occasions, was happy to make the shortlist again.
Last year, when he lost the CAF award to Aubameyang despite captaining Ivory Coast to African Cup of Nations glory, Toure described the decision as “the shame of Africa… to behave in this way is indecent”.
But Aubameyang and Mahrez are likely to be the favourites for the 2016 BBC award, which is voted for by the public and announced on December 12.
The reaction to Toure’s inclusion across social media was one of bemusement, particularly when Roma and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah seemed like a good candidate due to his fantastic form in Italy.