RIO DE JANEIRO (XINHUA) – Botafogo remain hopeful of signing former Manchester City and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure (pic below), according to a club official.
The two-time Brazilian Serie A champions began preliminary talks with Toure in February, but the Cote d’ Ivorian’s interest reportedly cooled following the coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m sure it could happen at the right time, but I don’t think it’s good to be talking about football now,” Botafogo Director Carlos Montenegro told Radio Tupi.
“First, there is the problem of distance, and, second, people are now more focussed on health care.”
Botafogo fans have inundated Toure’s social media accounts in recent days with messages that urge the 37-year-old to join the Rio de Janeiro side. Montenegro believes the tactic might be making an impact.
“Brazil has always been and continues to be the country of football, respected throughout the world,” Montenegro said.
“Africa has an adoration for Brazil. Now (Toure) is getting to know about Botafogo, which is the club to provide the most players to Brazil’s national team.
“It makes these players excited about the club, the fans, and Brazil.”
Toure has not played since parting ways with Chinese club Qingdao Huanghai last December.
He would be Botafogo’s second high-profile signing this year after the arrival of Japan’s former Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda on an 11-month deal in February.
The club also held talks with former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel before the global health crisis halted the world’s major football competitions in mid-March.