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Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 12:02:01 AM
Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 12:02:15 AM
by mike collett
Chelsea's Nemanja Matic (R) challenges Manchester City's Yaya Toure during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northern England, February 3, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Staples
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Yaya Toure has "no regrets" about leaving Barcelona nearly four years ago for Manchester City and believes he can join a select band of players to win the Champions League with two different clubs.
The muscular 30-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder was in the Barcelona team who beat Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final but left the Nou Camp at the end of the following season after three years at the club.
Now he is relishing the prospect of facing Barca for the first time since he left and believes that City will not be over-awed in Tuesday's last-16 first leg at the Etihad.
"I have no regrets about leaving," said Toure who was reported to be the highest-earning footballer in England on 250,000 pounds a week when he joined City.
"Some people might thing I came for other reasons, but I'd been there for three years and won everything I could so there was nothing else for me to win.
"City was a new challenge," he told a news conference on Monday.
"Since I have come to City we have always been on top. I have won trophies here and some individual awards and I am very happy here.
"When I came it was the right time to move and I do believe we have the manager, the players, the squad to win the Champions League.
"I'd like that, to win the Champions League again and if we don't do it this season, I think we can do it in the future."
Toure is a different type of player now than the one that left Barcelona where his job was more of a holding midfielder or defender.
Under City's former boss Roberto Mancini and now Manuel Pellegrini, he has been given a free role to go anywhere on the pitch.
He has licence to join the attack, add his weight to the midfield or shore up the defence and it was playing in a deeper role recently that provoked criticisms from former Liverpool Champions League winner Didi Hamann who described him as a "defensive liability".
That was one of the few times Toure had been criticised since he arrived in England.
"Sometimes the critics are wrong and I do what the manager tells me what to do," he said.
"When we lose they say we are the worst team and me especially, and when we win I am the best in the team.
"Sometimes it is disappointing when you hear stupid things like that, but for me I do what the manager says and we move on."
Toure is confident that if City can get a good result against Barcelona on Tuesday, they can reach the latter stages of the competition.
"It was unfortunate we were paired with Barcelona now, they are still probably the best team in the world," he said.
"But we can beat them, I am really looking forward to going back to the Nou Camp to play because the fans were always fantastic to me there.
"We are in four competitions and I believe we can at least win two of them this season.
"Our main objective is the Champions League and I know what it feels like to win that and want to win that again."
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