Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed long-serving midfielder Yaya Toure will leave the club next month after eight successful seasons with the Premier League champions.
Toure turns 35 on the last day of the current campaign and has been a key part of City’s rise to prominence since the takeover by the wealthy Abu Dhabi owners.
The Ivory Coast international is out of contract at the end of the season and, unsurprisingly, won’t be offered a new deal at the Etihad.
Guardiola however recognises the midfielder’s contribution to the club and said he will receive a memorable send-off after their home campaign against Brighton next week.
“He will not stay after this season,” Guardiola said on Friday.
“The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves. One of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.
“We will be focused on winning the game against Brighton for Yaya, and we are going to try to do it for him.”
Toure joined City from Barcelona for £24 million in July 2010, and won three League Cups and an FA Cup, in addition to his trio of Premier League crowns.
But Guardiola said his influence extended far beyond simple on-field success.
“We have amazing facilities but the club became what they did because of the players,” he explained.
“Yaya Toure came here when this idea for the club started, and what we are in this moment is thanks to what this guy has done. We cannot forget the period from Roberto Mancini, and especially Manuel Pellegrini.
“Yaya was the key, key, key, key, key, key player. That’s why we are delighted to prepare for Sunday’s game, for our celebration, and after for Yaya.”