Controversy aside, retiring Yaya Toure was a generational footballing icon
At the age of 35, Yaya Toure exits the stage a veritable legend of African football, a player who, at his very best, bent games to his will like few others.
Yet, in taking so long to arrive at the decision, in the drama, in his agent’s lack of discretion, there might be enough of a cloud there to obscure what was a fantastic career.
In all walks, it can be a tricky business separating the artist from his art – and Yaya was an artist in the truest sense, capable both of jarring percussion and silky strumming – and so it proves for the former Manchester City man.
For all his achievements, his goals and his swagger, there is no proper sense of adulation attached to him, either at club level or internationally.
To focus on that would however deprive one of the true heft of his legacy, and perhaps he is one of those whose stock will rise even more as time passes.
When all the other stuff – the petulance over confectionery, the disdain for his African contemporaries, driving under the influence of alcohol, his impolitic lashing out at the Confederation of Africa Football – recedes in the memory, what will be left is the essence of a truly brilliant player, one objectively in the top echelon of Africa’s all-time greats.