The Celtic teammate who made Arsenal invincible retire as he shares candid Parkhead truth

The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool man joined Celtic in 2016.

Kolo Toure has revealed that the performances of a young Dedryck Boyata in training pushed him into retiring shortly after joining Celtic.

Toure signed for Celtic as a 35-year-old back in 2016, reuniting with his former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers at Parkhead. The Ivorian was brought in as an experienced head to lead young teammates, having won the Premier League with two different clubs and been part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ campaign.

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A trusted option, Toure started regularly in the opening months of Rodgers’ first season in charge but minutes grew harder to come by as the squad’s younger talent began to blossom. And it was one teammate in particular, also with Premier League experience, that tipped him towards hanging up the boots.

“There was a game,” Toure told the High Performance podcast. “We had a break after December and we came back. I had a conversation with Brendan and he asked if I would be able to play that game.

“We had a young player, Dedryck Boyata – he was doing very well at training that week before we started the second half of the season. I thought I had to make sure I didn’t play that game or I’d make the team lose. I wasn’t at my full potential.

“I said to the boss ‘play that young player’. As a human, you have to know your limitations. I realised at that moment, let this boy play. He’s doing very well in training, just give him this chance.

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“Going back to Martin Keown – he supported me when I came to Arsenal. He never stopped me developing myself and I was thinking I don’t want to stop this young boy from developing.”

Toure would end up retiring at the end of his first season at Celtic - another in which his side went unbeaten - and join Rodgers’ coaching staff at Parkhead. The former defender then followed Rodgers to Leicester City before taking an ill-fated swing as manager of Wigan Athletic before being sacked after just two months in charge.

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