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06.01.2008 12:55

Touré joins up with the Ivory Coast

Marc Guillén

Touré Yaya is set to depart to join up with the Ivory Coast squad as they begin preparations for the African Cup of Nations later this month and could miss between five and nine games for Barcelona.

The former Monaco midfielder was booked against Mallorca on Saturday and would have been suspended for the next league game, but he was not set to be considered as he will be in the United Arab Emirates with his international teammates.

Touré to miss at least five games

While the African Cup of Nations runs from Januaqry 20 until February 10, the length of time that both Touré and Samuel Eto'o, who is due to leave Barcelona in a week's time, will depend on how their countries fair in the competition. Touré will miss at least five games for the Blaugrana, but that culd stretch to nine.

If the Ivory Coast are eliminated in the group stage, then Touré could return to play for Barça against Osasuna in the 22nd game of the season. That wold mean that he would only miss the cup tie with Sevilla and the league games against Murcia, Racing and Athletic Bilbao.

Should his national side progress further then the defensive midfielder would also miss the Osasuna match and could also be out for the game against Sevilla in the league. He could even be absent should Frank Rijkaard's side qualify for the semi finals of the Copa del Rey.

Eto’o staying longer

fcb-stuttgart-ETOxO.jpgBarcelona are set to retain the services of Eto'o for a week longer than Touré, meaning that the striker will be able to play in the first leg of the Copa del Rey tie against Sevilla and the league game against Real Murcia next weekend.

Once he goes, Eto'o is set to miss at least three games for Barça and that could extend to seven matches depending on Barça's progression in the cup and Cameroon's performance at the African Cup of Nations.

Sevilla, who Barça face on Wednesday, will be without Frédéric Kanouté, Arouna Koné and Seydou Keita. Koné is due to team up with Touré in the Ivory Coast squad, while both Kanouté and Keita will head off to represent Mali in the competition.

Touré joins up with the Ivory Coast

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