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Toure named 2011 African player of year

updated 8:57 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2011
Yaya Toure becomes only the second Ivorian to be named Africa player of the year.
Yaya Toure becomes only the second Ivorian to be named Africa player of the year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ivory Coast international midfielder Yaya Toure is named the African player of the year for 2011
  • Toure finished ahead of Ghana's Andre Ayew and Mali's Seydou Keita in the final voting
  • The 28-year-old helped Manchester City win the FA Cup, scoring the only goal in the Wembley final

(CNN) -- Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure has been named the 2011 Confederation of African Football player of the year.

The 28-year-old Toure, whose elder brother Kolo also plays in the same Manchester City team, finished ahead of Marseille and Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew, and Barcelona and Mali midfielder Seydou Keita, in a vote among Africa-based national coaches.

Defending title holder Samuel Eto'o and Lille striker Moussa Sow had been eliminated from the voting shortlist earlier in the week.

It has been a superb year for Toure, who has helped big-spending City top the English Premier League table, as well as scoring the only goal that saw the club defeat Stoke 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley in May -- City's first major trophy in 35 years.

It was not easy to win such an award and for me this is the highest prize in my career
Yaya Toure

Toure also helped Ivory Coast qualify for next month's Africa Cup of Nations with the only 100% record, winning all six games against Rwanda, Burundi and Benin.

"I am very happy to win this award," Toure told the official CAF website. "I feel proud of this special day and I thank my wife and kids for their support.

"I am also grateful to my brother Kolo, my teammates and the Ivorian Football Federation for their role in this feat. It was not easy to win such an award and for me this is the highest prize in my career," he added.

Toure has played for six clubs in six different countries during a nomadic career. After starting off at Belgium side Beveren, he played for Ukrainian side Metalurg Donetsk and Olympiacos of Greece, before spending a season in France with Monaco.

However, it was at Barcelona that Toure really made his name, earning a Champions League winners' medal in 2009.

Toure's victory prevented history from being made, with Ayew attempting to follow in the footsteps of his father, Abedi Pele, who won the award for three consecutive years from 1991 to 1993.

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