Yaya Toure: I'm better at Manchester City than I was at Barcelona

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Toure is enjoying his free-role at Manchester City.
Toure is enjoying his free-role at Manchester City..

Yaya Toure admits he is relishing his new-found free role at Manchester City after revealing that he felt restricted in a holding midfield position at Barcelona, reports the Daily Mail.

The Ivory Coast international arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2010 with a reputation as a defensive-minded enforcer, but has gone on to establish himself as one of the most influential box-to-box stars in the Premier League.

Under the stewardship of new Citizens boss Manuel Pellegrini, Toure has also made a name for himself as something of a set-piece specialist, and is enjoying having more of an impact at the other end of the pitch.

"When I was at Barcelona I was more someone that was there to hold, to organise, because it was about concentration on the ball," he explained, in an interview with Champions Matchday magazine.

"Here I have a free-role: I can go where I want and do what I want. I can join the attack or drop into the defence.

"While at Barcelona I was limited and couldn't leave the middle but here I can go all over, so I am in my groove. Wherever the ball goes I will go."

The 30-year-old is set to face his former club when Manchester City take on Tata Martino's side in the Champions League last-16, with the first leg set to take place at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

City will then travel to Spain for the second leg at Camp Nou on Wednesday 12 March, with the winner booking a place in the quarter finals of Europe's elite club competition.

Toure adds that he would've preferred not to face a club that remains so close to his heart, but will treat the matches like any other game, with victory the number one priority.

"It was a bit difficult because I didn't really want to get Barcelona now," he said. "Difficult because it is a club that I have a lot of respect for, a club where I won everything, a club which taught me a lot and a club where I made many friends, good professionals who taught me a lot.

"I will play against these same guys in the same stadium. It's not what I would have wanted but that's football, it can happen."

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