Toure (centre) at last night's awards ceremony. Christian Thompson/AP/Press Association Images
Top Prize

'This is the first step of my career' - Yaya Toure wins African Player of the Year

The Manchester City midfielder has been named the continent’s best footballer.

MANCHESTER CITY’S YAYA Toure has been crowned the African Player of the Year for 2011.

The 28-year-old beat off competition from Marseille and Ghana winger Andre Ayew and Barcelona’s Malian midfielder Seydou Keita at the awards ceremony in Accra, Ghana.

Toure joined the Premier League side back in July 2010, linking up with his brother and Ivory Coast team-mate Kolo, and has been one of their most consistent performers ever since.

He becomes the third Ivorian to scoop the continent’s top prize since its inception in 1992 – Didier Drogba has won it twice while former Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko was the recipient shortly after leaving Goodison Park in 1999.

“I am very happy to win the award. I feel proud of this special day,” Toure told the Confederation of African Football’s website.

“I thank my family, my wife and kids for their support. I am also grateful to my brother (Kolo Toure), my team-mates and the Ivorian Football Federation for their role in this feat.

“It was not easy to win such an award. This is the first step for my career. It is a very important award for me and I’m grateful to my colleagues. For me this is the highest prize in my career.”

City are set to lose the player when the African Cup of Nations starts in January but he has been given special dispensation to link up with the squad late in order to play in the FA Cup tie with Manchester City.

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