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Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic names Man City legend as his toughest ever opponent – Manchester Evening News

Nemanja Matic has named Manchester City legend Yaya Toure as his toughest ever opponent on the football pitch.

After already enjoying great success in Barcelona, Toure somehow got even better after moving to City and became one of the most important players in the club’s history, proving integral to their early success.

Matic would have come up against Toure upon his return to Chelsea in 2014, when the Ivorian was still at the peak of his powers at the Etihad.

The Serbian wouldn’t have faced Blues icon much after his £40million switch to Manchester United in 2017, though, as Toure fell out of favour under new manager Pep Guardiola and then left the club in the summer of 2018.

However, the Matic still rates Toure, who scored 79 goals and created 50 assists during his stay in England, as his most difficult opponent.

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“The toughest player I played against was probably Yaya Toure, when he played at Manchester City,” Matic told United’s official website in a fan Q&A.

“In his prime, he was a very good player – probably one of the best players in the Premier League and one of the best midfielders in the world at that time.

Yaya Toure of Man City battles with Nemanja Matic (Image: Simon Stacpoole/Mark Leech Sports Photography/Getty Images) “So I really enjoyed playing against him. He always gave me a hard time and you always had to be at your best against him so probably him.”

Despite growing into a composed and combative defensive-midfielder in his senior career, Matic has revealed he actually started out in the game as a playmaker and that Zinedine Zidane was his favourite player growing up.

“I played behind the striker so I was a No.10. I was small, smaller than now. Much smaller! I had great technique and I used to score many goals and get lots of assists,” he added.

“My favourite player when I was a kid was Zinedine Zidane. When I was a kid, I used to play in a similar position to him so he was my idol.

“I think, in my opinion, he is one of the best players in football history. My father was a football player and, yeah, I used to watch him when he played.

“For me, I wanted to be like my father, obviously. He still thinks he was better than me but that’s a different story!”

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