Pep Guardiola declined to respond to criticism from Yaya Toure after the ex-Manchester City midfielder accused his former coach of being “cruel to him” and having “problems with Africans.”
Toure, 35, was released by the City boss at the end of his contract after eight years with the club and claimed he wanted to “destroy the Guardiola myth” in an astonishing attack on the coach, for whom he also played at Barcelona.
But Guardiola — who described Toure as one of the “most important players in our history” before his emotional final farewell appearance at the Etihad Stadium — would not answer the player’s controversial remarks.
“I’m not going to comment on Toure’s words. I have nothing to say about Toure,” he said when questioned by reporters after playing in a golf tournament in Girona, Spain.
Guardiola is focusing on next season and wants to bring in at least two new faces in the summer, with Napoli’s Jorginho and Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez identified as his top targets.
Brazil forward Neymar has said he would like to work with Guardiola, while the Paris Saint-Germain forward has also been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
“I know that leaving Paris is not easy,” Guardiola replied when asked about Neymar’s potential move to the Bernabeu. “PSG is PSG.
“Will I coach him one day? I don’t think I’m going to go to PSG, I’m very happy at City.”
Guardiola has more than a month before some of his squad return ahead of their preseason summer tour to the United States in July.
Many of the first team will be given extra time off after the World Cup and may miss the tour but Leroy Sane, the Premier League’s Young Player of the Year, is likely to be involved after he was surprisingly omitted from the Germany squad by coach Joachim Low.
“I have a lot of respect for the Germany coach and he has taken that decision based on what he has seen,” Guardiola said. “He [Sane] has to rest now and return as good as he has been this season.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola will start the season with a touchline ban in the Champions League after UEFA found him guilty of improper conduct after he was sent to the stands in the quarterfinal defeat by Liverpool.
Guardiola was sent off by Antonio Miguel Lahoz after the Spanish official incorrectly ruled out a Sane goal in the second leg at the Etihad.
“Mateu Lahoz is Mateu Lahoz. I have nothing to say. I will watch the two games from the stands. One game if I behave,” he said. “Mateu sent me off. He will be the best Spanish referee to go to the World Cup.”
Manchester United sign Porto right-back Diogo Dalot for £19m
Manchester United have signed the “best young full-back in Europe” in £19m Porto defender Diogo Dalot, says Jose Mourinho.
The 19-year-old, who has made seven senior appearances, has signed a five-year deal at United.
Dalot has represented Portugal from under-15 to under-21 level and made his Porto debut in October.
“The chance of coming to the biggest club in the world is something I just couldn’t turn down,” said Dalot.
He is expected to provide competition for United captain Antonio Valencia.
“In his age group, he is the best full-back in Europe,” said Mourinho.
“He is an extremely talented young defender with all the qualities to quickly become a great player for this club.
“He has all the attributes that a full back needs: physicality, tactical intelligence and technical quality, combined with a Porto academy mentality which prepares players for the maturity they need at the professional level.”
Dalot is United’s second signing of the summer, after they agreed a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazil midfielder Fred on Tuesday, for a reported £47m.
The transfer should hasten the exits of Italian full-back Matteo Darmian, who has been strongly linked with Juventus, and Netherlands defender Daley Blind, neither of whom has a long-term future under Mourinho.
Mourinho is determined to strengthen his defence for what he hopes will be a far closer Premier League battle with champions Manchester City next term.
Atletico Madrid defeats Super Eagles 3-2 In friendly
Spanish LaLiga giants, Atletico Madrid have beaten the Super Eagles of Nigeria 3-2 in a friendly played at the ‘Nest of Champions’ in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Former Golden Eaglets star, Kelechi Nwakali put Nigeria ahead but Andrea Correa levelled the score for Atletico Madrid.
However, the La Liga outfit drew level in southern Nigeria minutes later through Angel Correa after Turkey-based striker Emem Eduok was dispossessed in his own half of the pitch.
Substitute Destiny Ashadi ought to have restored the Eagles’ lead just before the interval, but he badly miscued from inside the box after he was set up by the bright and lively Samad Kadiri.
Substitute Fernando Torres put Atletico ahead for the first time on 64 minutes after the visitors had missed a sitter earlier in the second half.
Norway-based midfielder Usman Mohammed hauled the Nigerians level in the 79th minute with a great solo goal as he dribbled his way inside the box.
However, Borja Garces fired past goalkeeper Femi Thomas for the winner five minutes from time.
Southampton sack manager less than a year
Southampton has sacked Mauricio Pellegrino as manager, the Premier League club announced on Monday.
Pellegrino was hired on a three-year deal in June of 2017 after Claude Puel was let go at the club. He had previously been at Alaves.
Saints were beaten 3-0 at Newcastle on Saturday and lie just one place and one point above the relegation zone.
Southampton has won just one of their last 17 league matches — against bottom club West Brom — with this weekend’s defeat proving to be the final straw.
Assistant manager Carlos Compagnucci and assistant first-team coach Xavier Tamarit have also parted company with the south coast club.
A Southampton statement read: “We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos and Xavier for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future.
“The club will look to appoint a new management team as soon as possible, with the search for a replacement already under way.”
Saints will be hoping to appoint Pellegrino’s successor quickly, with an FA Cup quarter-final at Wigan looming on Sunday.
They then face a crunch clash with relegation rivals West Ham at the London Stadium on March 31.
Former Hull and Watford boss Marco Silva has been installed as the favourite for the vacancy with bookmakers.
Pellegrino, 46, played for Barcelona, Valencia and Liverpool as a player, while his coaching career has included stints in charge of Valencia, Estudiantes and Independiente.
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