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27.06.2007 13:50

Touré: "I love watching Barça"

Berta Brau

Touré Yaya is a huge fan of the Barça approach to football and hopes he can help the midfield to big things in his time at the club. And he is confident he will be able to settle in easily.

In an exclusive interview with Barça TV and www.fcbarcelona.cat, the Ivorian explained how he spoke to several former Barça players before joining the club, including Rivaldo and Gerard, and it was on their recommendation that he has come to Barcelona, where he promises he is “ready for the challenge.”

How did you feel when you were presented and stepped onto the Camp Nou turf for the first time?

"It was a huge pleasure. The first time is amazing, both happy and emotional at the same time. I feel so pleased to be here in this stadium because I have seen it so many times on television, and today I am here for real, it’s enormous."

Why did you choose to play for Barça?

"Because more than anything, football is a game, and Barça play a really nice game. This team is great to watch on TV, it is a team that not only knows how to move the ball around, but that also produces some of the best football in Europe, and it is a huge honour to come here to form a part of that."

qm3d5424.jpgHow would you define Barça’s football?

"It’s simple, flowing football, but with a lot of skill at the same time, it’s a very simple style. Barça’s’ football is really nice to watch, but is efficient at the same time. They are the best club anywhere in Europe right now."

You played with Rivaldo at Olympiakos and Gerard at Monaco. What did they tell you about Barça?

"When you listened to them it was like listening to a dream. They spoke of Barça with love and after all the years they spent here, they had a lot to say about this club. I think they both still consider this to be a great club, even though they are not here any more, and they must be sad about that."

Is this move a dream come true?

"For me it is an objective achieved. My target was to play among great players in a big European club and I’ve managed to achieve that today. But the job is not done yet, because I have set myself even bigger objectives. I know I will feel comfortable but I have come here to achieve even bigger things."

And what are those objectives specifically?

"For me, being African, it is incredible enough just to come to Europe, but it thrills me to think what it must be like to take part in all the success of a great club like Barça. I want to win the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the Spanish league, that would be a big pleasure."

Are you ready for it?

"Yes, it’s all about Barça, one of biggest clubs around. I also played in the Greek league, which was an intense competition but I coped with it, although that was at a different level to here at Barça. I think I’m physically prepared to face the challenge."

On Sunday you said you were big friends with Eto’o. That must help in adapting to Spanish football.

"Yes, because sometimes you need things like that to blend in. Most of all in the integration process, and that’s an important factor. I think that with Eto’o, and also Thuram and Thierry Henry, that it will be easy to fit in."

How does it feel to think you’ll be playing alongside Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Messi and Henry?

"Very, very strong feelings, lots of emotion because it means I will be playing with some huge players. I think I’ll learn a lot and also think we will be able to meet our targets."

Did you watch Henry’s presentation?

qm3d5434.jpg"Yes, I saw it in the hospital when I was doing my blood test. I think he’s an exceptional person and he’ll contribute a lot to this club, especially with all of his experience."

Your brother must have congratulated for getting to play with Henry...

"Yes! We spoke on the phone today and he’s proud of me because Barça is, right now, the biggest club in Europe and it’s huge to be here forming part of a team like that."

What do you think of Frank Rijkaard as a manager?

"Good. Frank Rijkaard is somebody I watched on TV when I was small, he was a great player and won lots of titles, and now he’s doing a great job with Barça. It is a huge pleasure for me to be here and learn things from such a fine coach."
Touré: “I love watching Barça“

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Style and characteristics
What will Touré contribute to Barça’s football?

"I think I’ll contribute everything I know about football, my strong points, in other words, among other things, balance. A lot of things have been said, but for me the most important thing is to offer the very best of me and always make sure my football is effective."

Would you say you are a defensive midfielder?

"You could say that all football players these days have their special qualities. And there are certainly players that are just as good as me, but that means I am also just as good as them, and I think football is always about wanting to keep making progress, because it only with that kind of mentality that you can achieve your goals."

Who were your greatest influences?

"I have admired a lot of great footballers. Makelele and Patrick Vieira are two I like a lot. But I also think it’s also important to create my own persona in the football world, and I plan to do that one day."

Do you think you are close to doing it?

"Today it is just about working hard, and gradually working towards out targets. I think that right now I still have a very long way to go, but with plenty of hard work, I am sure I will get there."

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