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.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.