Kevin De Bruyne has dismissed accusations from former Manchester City teammate Yaya Toure that Pep Guardiola “often had problems with Africans.”
Toure, 35, was released by the City boss at the end of the season after making just one Premier League start and criticised the coach and accused him of “being cruel to him.” But De Bruyne said he has seen nothing to suggest that Guardiola has an issue with black players and believes that City’s title-winning season showed he made the right decision in dropping Toure.
“I never saw something. It would be weird if the trainer was racist — with all the black guys in our team,” De Bruyne told BBC World Football. “So I don’t know what Yaya said or if it’s wrongly written or exaggerated. When you don’t play there’s always something you try to find.”
Toure insists he can still play at the top-level and his agent Dimitry Seluk says the Ivory Coast midfielder will play for one of City’s top-six rivals for £1 a week to prove Guardiola wrong.
“We had the best season ever, so in the end the coach took the right decision to play with the team who played a lot,” De Bruyne added. “This year the trainer probably thought [Yaya] wasn’t doing enough, wasn’t fit enough. I’ve never seen something racist at the club ever.”
Meanwhile, City defender Benjamin Mendy has spoken about a reality check during his six-month layoff with a cruciate knee ligament injury. The France international, who has recovered in time to be included in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the World Cup, suffered the setback in just his fifth appearance following his move from Monaco last summer and flew to Barcelona for treatment.
“When I was at Barcelona, the patient next to me, a Spaniard, had cancer. We found that out two days later. He was dying. I said to myself: ‘What I have with my knee is nothing,” he told SFR Sport. “I think that eased my recovery, I spoke often with their family.
“When you have a knee or ligament injury, it’s nothing, compared to people who are suffering from much more serious things.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.