Yaya Toure has questioned whether Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola "spoiled" his last season with the club due to the color of his skin, alluding to other African players who have found it equally as difficult to thrive under the manager.
The Ivorian made just one Premier League start for the Citizens during the recently concluded campaign - coming in his last ever match for the club as they overcame Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium in May.
However, the 35-year-old was left perplexed as to why he had been excluded, claiming to France Football, as quoted by L'Equipe, he believed his stats were better than others', which led him to believe his rejection from the starting XI could have been more than footballing ability alone.
"I have the impression that Pep, without acknowledgement or respect, did everything to spoil my last season," he said.
"It feels like he was jealous of me, he saw me as a rival... as if I was taking the limelight away from him. He was cruel with me. Do you really think he could've been like that with Iniesta?
"It got to the point I asked myself if it was because of my color. I'm not the first, other Barça players asked the question too. Maybe us Africans aren't always treated the same by certain people.
"When you see the problems he (Guardiola) has often had with African players, everywhere he has been, I ask myself questions. He's too intelligent to be caught. He'll never admit it (not liking Africans). But the day he picks a team with five Africans in, I promise I will send him a cake!"
Samuel Eto'o is another to have widely criticized Guardiola in the past, although never openly claiming racism played a part in his demise at Barcelona, while Wilfried Bony also found no joy under the stewardship of the 47-year-old.