Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure says he would not have got where he is today without having spent three years with Barcelona.
The Ivory Coast international has just been included in the 23 nominees for the Ballon d’Or, but believes he could not have reached the level he is at if he had not joined the Catalans.
“When I left Monaco for Barca in 2007 I evolved much more as player,” the 29-year-old declared in an interview with L’Equipe.
“I was lucky enough to have a great Coach like Frank Rijkaard who helped me to progress. For three-and-a-half months, when the rest of the players were away with their countries, he made me work on tactics because I was a little bit disorderly.
“He showed me videos and worked with me in training so I could learn how to work behind the forwards, as I did with Monaco, or help out in defence.”
Toure feels the experience of being surrounded by footballers of the quality of Deco, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez helped his development.
“I only had to look at them in order to improve but I needed to move on. Without being big-headed a lot of things have happened at City since I signed.
“That’s why I wanted to go to the club, to become a part of its history. At Barca the history was already written.
“They had Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola before I arrived, but at City I can help write history.
“I hope that when I’m old they will still be talking about me,” he added.