Manchester City legend Yaya Toure has returned to football with Chinese second-tier side Qingdao Huanghai following a seven-month spell on the sidelines.
Since leaving Greek club Olympiakos in December, Toure had been forced to deny claims he’s hung up his boots after struggling to find a new club.
The 36-year-old midfielder left City in May 2018 as a three-time Premier League winner across a brilliant eight-year stint, which saw him manage 79 goals and 50 assists in 316 appearances.
Despite these impressive feats, however, Toure struggled to find a new club following a disappointing two-month second spell at Olympiacos. He made just four appearances in Greece before his contract was mutually terminated.
But the former Barcelona star is back in the game and raring to go as Qingdao Huanghai look to hold on to their first-place in the Chinese League One standings and win promotion to the top tier division for the first time in history.
“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,” read a statement from Toure’s website.
“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.
Let's do this…!!! 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/XEIqH2PQ4E
— Yaya Touré (@YayaToure) July 3, 2019
“I am very happy to be part of the Huanghai family here in Qingdao, China. The club owner Mr. Wang and everyone here at the club makes me feel at home.
“The fans have also been fantastic and showed so much love.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the club owner and staff for their warm welcome and my Chinese agent for the great care and support.
“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 is the second big-name to arrive in China following Rafael Benitez’s appointment as head coach of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.