wpid-yaya-toure-300x186.jpgYaya Toure admits he is enjoying the free role he is afforded at Manchester City after feeling ‘limited’ as a holding midfielder during his time at Barcelona.

The 30-year-old arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2010 with a reputation as a defensively minded enforcer but has since been transformed into a box-to-box playmaker and free-kick specialist.

Speaking to Champions Matchday magazine, Toure said of his time at the Nou Camp: ‘When I was at Barcelona I was more someone that was there to hold, to organise, because it was about concentration on the ball. 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.’

Toure will face his former club in the first leg of City’s Champions League Last 16 tie on Tuesday 18 February, although the Ivory Coast international admits he would have preferred not drawing a club he still holds close to his heart.

‘It was a bit difficult because I didn’t really want to get Barcelona now. 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’ he said.

‘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’.

Striker Alvaro Negredo is confident City have the game to ruffle Barcelona when their Champions League challenge resumes.

Negredo said: ‘We like to have the ball, we have a good repertoire – we’ve got fast men down the wing, people in midfield who can give the right touch and the wingers like to come infield too. We’ve got resources, haven’t we?

‘I think one of the things that is going to be important in this game is who has got the ball.

‘It’s clear that it is very difficult to take the ball off Barcelona, but when they don’t have the ball, they suffer.

‘Another thing is that we are not usually a team that gives the ball away easily. That could discourage them too.’

Barcelona’s level widely perceived to have dipped since their two most recent Champions League wins of 2009 and 2011, when the brilliant trio of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi were at the height of their powers.

Messi himself has endured an injury-disrupted season and is still bidding to get to his best.
Yet Barca remain in a three-way battle for La Liga title, are still among the favourites for the Champions League and are through to the Copa del Rey final.

And with City having produced some devastating performances this season, Negredo is anticipating a ferocious clash, whether or not Messi is on song.

Source: Daily Mail

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