Yaya Toure conceded he is "a little bit scared" for Manchester City in their Champions League last-16 encounter with Real Madrid.

City went through their group stage unbeaten, winning four of their six games and scoring 16 times as they topped a pool featuring Atalanta, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.

However, Pep Guardiola's side were then handed possibly the sternest test possible as they were pitted against 13-time winners Madrid, who only finished second in Group A behind Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid have never lost a Champions League knockout tie under Zidane, who won three successive trophies during his previous reign and returned last March, with Los Blancos' European pedigree leaving Toure fearful for his old club City.

"I wanted City to get Lyon or some club like that, but Real Madrid is going to be a tough game, a very, very tough game," Toure told Omnisport.

"But we will see - the first game is at the Bernabeu and then it is [at the] Etihad [Stadium].

"Real Madrid could knock us straight out. They could, they really could, because we expect Real Madrid to be in the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and now they face City.

"I'm a little scared to be honest."

The first match takes place on Wednesday, February 26, with Madrid then travelling to Manchester for the second leg on March 17.

Madrid were eliminated at the last-16 stage last season by Ajax, which prompted the club to turn back to Zidane.

The Frenchman has presided over a 15-game unbeaten run in LaLiga and Toure was particularly impressed by Madrid in their 2-2 home draw with PSG in November, even though Zidane's side threw away a two-goal lead late on.

"The last time I saw a game is when they played against Paris Saint-Germain, it was very good," Toure added.

"Even though [PSG] take two goals in the end, Madrid was on top of Paris Saint-Germain and Paris Saint-Germain are a good, good side.

"I think Paris Saint-Germain is going to be going forward to the semi-final or final. We never know. They are playing very good, they have a good coach.

"I hope Man City are going to pass Madrid but this is a big, big test, a big ask."

Emmanuel Adebayor has reunited with former Manchester City team-mate Roque Santa Cruz at OIlimpia, and Yaya Toure is also being linked with a switch to South America.

The ex-Real Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham attacker, 35, has joined the reigning Primera Division champions for the 2020 campaign, having played alongside Santa Cruz at the Etihad Stadium between 2009 and 2010.

Olimpia president Marco Trovato last Friday said he wanted 20,000 new members to sign up in order to announce the arrival of Adebayor on Monday, though the deadline was extended by 24 hours.

Shortly after revealing that 14,922 people had signed up with the club, Olimpia made the former Togo international's arrival official.

Toure could be the next big-name veteran to arrive in South America, with Rodrigo Codas, an agent who played a role in Adebayor's move to Olimpia, claiming the Ivorian's representative has asked him to help evaluate the market.

Toure, who arrived at City from Barcelona in 2010 and won three Premier League titles, spent 2019 playing in China's second tier with Qingdao Huanghai and is reportedly a target for Olimpia's rivals Libertad, though a switch to Brazil appears more likely.

"I want to be cautious about Yaya," Codas told Fox Sports Argentina. "He is a player that is willing to come to South America.

"He is very friendly with Adebayor, the same with Roque or Carlos Tevez in South America.

"I think that Yaya would be going, if all goes well, to Brazil. Because of the country and the finances, and because of the power of Brazilian football.

"The coronavirus scares many players who are in China and want to leave."

Liverpool's Sadio Mane deserved to win this year's Ballon d'Or, according to former Manchester City and Barcelona star Yaya Toure.

Lionel Messi scooped a record sixth Ballon d'Or earlier in December, edging out Mane's club-mate Virgil van Dijk.

However, Toure believes Mane - who scored 26 goals in all competitions last term as Liverpool finished second in the Premier League and won the Champions League - should have claimed the prize.

"To be honest he deserved to win the Ballon d'Or. In Africa we don't see any better players than him," Toure told reporters in Doha, where he is a guest of FIFA at the Club World Cup.

"Did you see the votes, did you see what he did in the last year, how many goals he scored, what he achieved with Liverpool?

"For me it is a shame when a team wins this trophy (the Champions League) and the winner of the Ballon d'Or is not coming from there."

Liverpool currently hold a 10-point advantage over Leicester City at the top of the Premier League and are 14 points clear of third-place Manchester City, and Toure acknowledged the Reds - who are unbeaten in the league - would be worthy champions.

"Liverpool are great, they are doing very well and they deserve their position at the moment," he said.

"There is a long way to go but Liverpool are a good side and they look much stronger than last year. The way I see City is their form this year has been quite complicated but, 10 points in front, Liverpool have a good, good chance.

"When you see the league today there are a few teams who are quite disappointing, like Arsenal and a couple of others, but Liverpool have the chance to have the honours this year."

Having overcome Monterrey 2-1 on Wednesday, Liverpool face Flamengo on Saturday in the Club World Cup final.

Former Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure thinks Mikel Arteta could become one of the game's best head coaches amid talk of an imminent appointment at Arsenal.

Arteta is said to be on the verge of being named as successor to Unai Emery, who was sacked at the end of November following a run of seven games without a win in all competitions.

Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg has overseen just one victory in five matches, with last Sunday's 3-0 home defeat to Manchester City leading to calls for the Gunners to accelerate their plans to appoint a permanent boss.

Arteta, assistant to Pep Guardiola at City, could be named the next man at the Arsenal helm in the next 24 hours and Toure has high hopes for the 37-year-old, having worked with him at the Etihad Stadium before his exit in 2018.

"I think he's going to be a very, very good manager because I worked with him for a couple of years, and I saw him doing things, and I think he's going to be good," Toure told Omnisport.

"Man City do have a lot of possibilities. Just money-wise. I want Arsenal to spend more, but he's going to be one of the best if he can do what he wants to do."

Arteta has enjoyed great success with City since becoming Guardiola's assistant in 2016, helping them to two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and the FA Cup.

This season has been more problematic, though, with City 14 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool after only 17 matches.

Toure, three times a league champion at City, thinks his old club have been unfortunate this term with injuries to centre-backs and striker Sergio Aguero in particular.

"Unlucky, very unlucky," he said. "They always have major players out with injuries, but it's part of the game – sometimes you lose key players in key moments.

"But for me, the best player will always be Kun Aguero. They miss him a lot, but they're going to come back from injury, and they will work it out.

"I think he's a player that everybody wants to play with. If you're a good player, then you want to play with these kinds of players. Aguero's been great for me, he's been the player I wanted to play with.

"And maybe if I get the chance, I can coach that sort of player because he's so clever, he's so short, but he's a goalscorer and I love him."

Toure has plenty of admiration for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, though, particularly forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

"I think what Klopp is doing, and what Liverpool are achieving over the last few years is amazing. I think they're going to win the Premier League this season for sure," he added.

"Salah has been doing very well over the last two years, but Sadio Mane this year has been great. It's difficult to choose between those two because they have different qualities."

Yaya Toure has revealed he is reluctant to let his children play football because of the fear they will be racially abused.

The former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder said he would gladly work with the likes of UEFA and FIFA to combat racism in the game.

Speaking to Omnisport at the Club World Cup in Qatar, Toure also revealed his worry that racism will persist in Italy, where attempts to curb the problem have been frequently hamfisted.

"I'm sometimes emotional about this because racism is something that hurts me all the time," Toure said.

"Because my kids want to play football and want to be a footballer, and I say to him, 'Look, can you not do that?'.

"Sometimes I have to accept it, because I'm refusing him to play football why? Because of this kind of thing."

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport recently faced criticism for its 'Black Friday' front-page headline, trailing the clash of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling in Inter's match with Roma.

And the efforts of Serie A to mount an anti-racism campaign backfired when it used artwork of monkeys as a focal point of its campaign.

Asked about racism in Italy, Toure said: "They're going to continue it. They'll continue it. You just have to understand. Three months ago I was in a conference and there were some people from the federation in Italy who just talked about it. I talked with them and what to do with Lukaku sometimes, or some of the players who don't like it.

"I think they can be better but you have to teach them. It's just about the fans. People tell them they have to be educated but it's different. It's not integration; it's about something different."

The 36-year-old Ivorian said footballers should be free to perform in an environment where "players can express themselves", and added, when asked if he would work with FIFA and UEFA: "Definitely - I want to work with them now."

Toure did not spare World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar from his criticism of the state of the game, citing it and Iraq as being among countries where women are left to feel excluded from football.

He said: "In football, to play something you have to enjoy it, because men or women ... have to play and enjoy and be herself."

Yaya Toure has signed for Chinese club Qingdao Huanghai.

Toure has been without a team since leaving Olympiacos in December and earlier this year he denied comments made by his agent claiming he had retired.

The former Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder will bid to help Qingdao Huanghai reach the Chinese Super League, with his new club top of the second tier after 15 games.

"Since the start of my football career, I have always loved challenges and now I have decided to take this new challenge and make history once again with Qingdao Huanghai Football Club," Toure said in a statement.

"This is a very exciting young club with a lot of potential and we share the same philosophy – that is to play beautiful football. It will be my great honour to grow and succeed with this club.

"I believe my experiences in football will offer something new to this growing club and together we can make great history. I can't wait to let my football do the magic once again, let's enjoy football together!"

Toure, who counts Monaco and Barcelona among his previous clubs, is a modern great with the 36-year-old having been crowned African Footballer of the Year on four occasions.

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