Manchester City's Ivorian forward Yaya Toure said that his impressive performance this season can be attributed to his scientific approach to football.
Toure's season was marked by a string of outstanding performances, scoring 9 goals in total and landing on the shortlist for the FIFA Men's World Footballer of the Year award, the only African player to do so.
In an interview with France Football on Wednesday, Toure spoke about past coach Jean-Marc Guillou, who taught him and his fellow teammates how to really understand the game.
"Because football is a science," Toure said. "If you don't understand it, you can't reach the highest level."
He went on to say that playing in England was more demanding than in other countries, like Spain, where you can sometimes grab a few seconds' rest during a match. The 30-year-old said that he has to really take care of his body so that he can recover after training and matches.
He spoke most, though, about time spent with coaches and their impact on his career.
"I admit I spend more time with coaches," he said. "[Roberto] Mancini and I exchanged many things. He knew I loved strategic and tactical work. The goal is not to leave any room for doubt or chance.
"I talk a lot with [Manchester City manager Manuel] Pellegrini, too," he added. "He understands what I like. I am a fanatic of this game and constantly looking for explanations, like a professor who wants to constantly complete his knowledge."
Returning to the science comparison, he went on to say:
"For me, football is a bit like physicists who try throughout their careers to crack a scientific code. I'm trying to break all the mysteries of football."
Toure remembered another a key moment early in his career when he made a trial at Arsenal. At the time he was under contract with Beveren.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told him that he didn't see Toure becoming a defensive midfielder.
Toure replied that he wanted to be like Patrick Veira, the retired French footballer of Senagalese and Cape Verdean descent who now manages the reserve squad at Manchester City.
Finally, Wenger told Toure that he would be much more at ease to support him as a forward.
"He told me staying in the midfield would be a mess," Toure recalled.
"But I was convinced back then that I could blossom. Probably because it would allow me to be just like Patrick Vieira, my idol."
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