Former Barcelona and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has sealed a deal to join second-tier Chinese club Qingdao Huanghai, the player and the club have announced.
The 36-year-old former Ivory Coast international and four-time African footballer of the year had been without a team since December after an unsuccessful three-month spell at Olympiakos in Greece. There were suggestions that Toure had retired, but he denied that in May and said he wanted to keep playing “for a few more years”.
“I believe my experiences in football will offer something new to this growing club and together we can make great history!” Toure said on his personal website.
The team, located in the eastern China city of Qingdao, are top of the second-tier China League One and play in Barcelona colours. Toure’s signing was announced late on Wednesday. Terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Toure, who spent eight successful seasons with Premier League champions Manchester City before being released last summer, has long been linked with a move to China.
In 2016, while still at City, his outspoken agent Dimitry Seluk told The Sun newspaper in Britain that his client had rejected a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning and was not interested in playing in China.
“We don’t want to go there. And we will never go to China,” Seluk said. “Yaya does not think about money. Yaya thinks about football.”