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Man City 15:00 Watford

Guardiola wanted Toure stay

Marquez and Ibrahimovic to decide over futures

Last Updated: 19/07/10 4:46pm

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Guardiola: Wanted Toure to stay

Guardiola: Wanted Toure to stay

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has claimed he did everything he could to persuade Yaya Toure to stay at Camp Nou rather than join Manchester City.

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Guardiola revealed he would also have preferred defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy to remain with the Catalan club following his return to Shakhtar Donetsk.

And the Barca boss admitted that the future of Mexico defender Rafael Marquez and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in their own hands.

Toure moved to Eastlands in a big-money deal after becoming frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities in Spain.

"It's a big blow for us," Guardiola said. "I did everything possible to get him to stay and he's a popular player in the dressing room, but he wanted to leave and there's not much I could do.

"I am grateful for everything he gave Barca and I hope he finds a (regular) place (at City) that I was unable to give him."

Opinion

Chygrynskiy headed back to Shakhtar following a sole season at the Nou Camp and, although the coach was reluctant to let the Ukraine centre-back go, he admits the sale was necessary to balance the books.

"My opinion counts, but the needs of the club go above that and that's why he was sold," said Guardiola. "I would like to have kept him."

Guardiola does not expect any more departures this summer, but says Marquez and Ibrahimovic have decisions to make.

"Marquez's future depends on him. After everything he has given the club, he will be the one to decide his future," he said.

"Ibrahimovic had a really good season last year. He will decide his future - he is a special player.

"I have not spoken with the previous president (Joan Laporta) or the new one (Rosell) to put him on the market.

"If he stays, he is a player who needs to continue to be important for us. He will decide what to do with his agent."

Mourinho

And the Barca coach is looking forward to the challenge of facing new Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.

"He is one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best, so the fact that he is coming to the Spanish league is good," he said.

"We beat Madrid by three points last year (in the Primera Division) and because of small details.

"They will continue to be competitive and they haven't won anything for two years, so we'll have to keep improving.

"They have more zeros (money) than us, so we'll have to have more enthusiasm."

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