Four-time African footballer of the year Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old Manchester City midfielder capped 113 times including appearances at three World Cup finals said it had been an incredibly difficult decision for him.

“Writing this note was probably ‘the most difficult match of my life’,” Toure wrote, who faces a pretty light season as he is out of favour at Manchester City by his coach Pep Guardiola dropping him from champions league player list

“After 14 years at the highest level, I’m sure this is the right time for me! The fact that I am 33 now, the intensity of training and the multitude of games are not the reasons why I am making this decision.”

Toure, part of the golden generation of Ivory Coast players such as Didier Drogba, his brother Kolo Toure and Gervinho, said for all his success at club level, including a Champions League with Barcelona in 2009, it was finally winning the Africa Cup of Nations with his country Ivory Coast in 2015, their first since 1992, that remained his most precious memory.

His international career, though, has been marked by personal tragedy too with his mother dying on the cusp of an important junior final in 2003 and then it struck again at the 2014 World Cup ahead of a crucial group game with Colombia.

“With the Elephants, it was even more special. I learned to win for my country. That’s why I will always retain the pride in having achieved four African Golden Balls for the Ivory Coast”.

Toure could leave Manchester City at the next transfer window. The Ivorian contributed a lot to the national team, and there are fears that the current squad might not be able to carry on the legacy of the outgoing squad.

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