Touré set to return 'as fit as I've ever been' after six-month ban


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The Independent Football

Manchester City defender Kolo Touré hopes to return like "a new player" after completing his ban for failing a drugs test. The Ivory Coast international is now eligible to play for City again after enduring an enforced six months on the sidelines.

Touré, 30, missed the final three months of last season, including City's FA Cup final triumph at Wembley, after taking a diet pill which contained a prohibited substance.

Touré told City TV: "I feel totally recharged and as fit as I've ever been in my life. Hopefully, it will be like having a new signing because I am back and want to challenge for a first-team place. I know it won't be easy because the team is playing so well, but I'll be pushing hard for an opportunity.

"I'm just so happy to be back and I will give everything I have to the team, this club and our fans. I can't wait to get going."

Touré could potentially return to the City side for next week's Premier League game against Wigan, although he faces tough competition from the likes of Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Stefan Savic.

Touré thought the pill he took was approved and news that he had failed a test came as a shock. "I remember it clearly," he added. "I was at home in my bedroom when the club doctor and [manager] Roberto Mancini came in to explain what had happened.

"It was a shock to see them there and I immediately realised the implications for my career, the club and my family. It was an awful moment because I didn't know what was going to happen."

Touré has thanked the club, fans and his brother and team-mate Yaya for their support throughout his suspension.

The former Arsenal centre-back said: "Yaya has been incredible and, as brothers, this has brought us even closer. He was always there for me and kept me informed of what was happening at the club. I must also thank the manager, my team-mates, the staff and particularly [chief executive] Garry Cook and our chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak for standing by me and helping me through this period.

"It's at times like this you know who your friends are and I'd also like to thank people like [Arsenal manager] Arsène Wenger, too. And I will try and repay our amazing supporters for all their good wishes, kind words and support."