January 9, 2014 saw Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure named the CAF African Footballer of the Year for a third successive time.
The gong arrived in the midst of Toure’s greatest ever season, with 2013/14 the campaign in which he was absolutely unplayable in the sky blue of Manchester City.
The then-30-year-old was the peak of his powers, combining speed, power and a keen eye for goal to dominate the Premier League.
Toure racked up 20 goals and nine assists as City claimed their second Premier League title, holding off a strong challenge from a Luis Suarez-inspired Liverpool.
Suarez claimed the Player of the Season prize in England’s top flight, but Toure was arguably a more worthy recipient, as he was the driving force behind Manuel Pellegrini’s team and even outscored Sergio Aguero (17 goals) to be the Citizens’ top marksman.
City also won the League Cup that season, with Toure again a key man in their success: he scored three goals, including the equaliser in the final against Sunderland which laid the foundation for his team to go on and win the match 3-1.
Toure enjoyed three further strong seasons with Man City (and won the African Footballer of the Year prize four a fourth time in 2015) before becoming more of a squad player under manager Pep Guardiola in 2017/18, though he played enough matches to earn a third Premier League winners’ medal.
The midfielder, who also led Ivory Coast to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations title, left City at the end of the last campaign and signed for Greek club Olympiakos – a side he played for in the 2005/06 season.
Sadly for Toure, his time in Athens was not a productive one and he left the club in December. Now a free agent, the 35-year-old is hoping to return to the Premier League (and a reunion with Pellegrini at West Ham United has been touted) but he reportedly also has offers from the Major Soccer League and the Chinese Super League to consider.