Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Yaya a no-no for City's Champions League qualifier

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Any qualms Pep Guardiola may have had about swiftly putting his imprint on Manchester City seem to have been quelled after the Catalan gaffer didn’t include Yaya Toure in the club’s Champions League squad for a two-legged qualifier against Steaua Bucharest.

The angular Ivorian midfielder was not only left out of the squad, he wasn’t on the flight that departed Manchester for Romania on Sunday night, as initially reported by the Guardian.

Toure, who joined City in 2010 from Barcelona on a five-year deal for a reported £24-million fee, was also one of several marquee players left off the team sheet for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Sunderland.

Speaking to reporters Monday ahead of the continental qualifier, Guardiola addressed both decisions.

“Yaya is training amazing but I was not sure he was going to play so I would prefer him to stay in Manchester,” Guardiola offered.

“We travel with two young guys who maybe will stay out of the selection. I’d prefer the young guys to be out of selection rather than Yaya Toure.

“I have a lot of respect him, his career, his quality. Against Sunderland, were looking for a typical, intensive game and that’s why he didn’t play – that’s the only reason why.”

Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, and Eliaquim Mangala were also absent Saturday, and Guardiola unexpectedly started Willy Caballero over mainstay shot-stopper Joe Hart.

Toure played under Guardiola at Barcelona, winning the league twice, including in 2008-09, when the Blaugrana also captured Champions League honours and the Copa del Rey.

The omission will only fuel talk of a high-profile move for the 33-year-old, though the 100-time capped international’s agent contends that his client is happy at City.

“Pep’s the best manager in the world. Hope he gives Yaya the chance to prove he’s still good enough,” Toure’s representative, Dimitri Seluk, told Sky Sports.

“Yaya is the perfect professional and he will do his job. City fans know he will do his best. There is no talk of a transfer. Yaya will stay and fight.”

City faces the Romanian champ Tuesday at the Stadionul Steaua before the return leg Aug. 24.

Guardiola and co. will hope to experience a smoother flight home than their trip to the Romanian capital.

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