In news that’s created a stir, the legendary Ivorian has joined The O’s in their pre-season training, as he bids to build his fitness following the expiration of his deal with Qingdao Huanghai.
Based in London now, Yaya Toure had his team reach out to The O’s to ask if he could join for training – an opportunity that no doubt benefited both parties.
“The manager and staff have been fantastic in allowing me to come train with the lads, and it’s a huge opportunity, as things aren’t easy, especially with the virus,” said Yaya Toure, talking to Orient TV.
After leaving Manchester City Toure, now 37, joined Olympiacos – before heading to China, but isn’t set on retiring yet.
“I just want to enjoy it to the last minute, as football to me is everything,” continued Toure. “It’s great Orient have allowed me to train with the lads, and everyone has welcomed me here. I just want to do my best and train hard.”
“Today was just about trying to get my legs going, but I think from Monday I’ll look to be more involved on the ball, and will be a lot more active.”
“I had contact from his agent ten days ago, and we thought it was a joke!” said Head Coach Ross Embleton. “We followed it through though, and pretty soon realised it was the real deal.
“Any opportunity to get a player of his quality, one of the best in the world, is fantastic. He comes across as a really good character, and it will give our players a really good opportunity to learn from him in the experience.”
The O’s returned to training earlier in the week following the lockdown, and you can see the photos here.