Liam Shone pays tribute to Kolo Toure after the Ivorian parted ways with Liverpool with his contract not being renewed ahead of the 2016/17 season.

Kolo Toure was officially released by Liverpool Football Club on Friday. A man who gave his everything for the club every time he set foot on the pitch, and always did so with a big smile on his face. The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender was a welcome change in the modern football world of prima donnas and overpaid flashy stars.

The man just wanted to play football. That’s all he wanted. Win or lose, thick or thin, he was just desperate to be on the pitch representing Liverpool. He put his body on the line time after time for the club and never asked for anything in return.He was widely regarded behind the scenes as a guy who would do anything for any other member of the Liverpool team, helping whenever and wherever he could. He was also a leader on the pitch, often being asked to step up and be a captain within a sea of new, young faces.

As well as being an on-field professional, Kolo never shied away from his responsibilities off the field, with the media and as a club sponsor. He often joined in with kit launches and even chanted his own name at a Warrior event, as part of the infamous Yaya/Kolo chant.

He was nowhere near the best defender we had at the club, and he knew this. His first season gained him a bit of a reputation for being ‘Calamitous Kolo’ due to performances against West Brom and Fulham, in which he was directly at fault for at least two goals.

He was never a man to be held down by his previous errors, however. Coming back into the team with a beaming smile on his face and doing anything and everything to help the mighty reds whenever he donned the iconic shirt.
We signed the Ivorian centre back in the summer of 2013, on a free from Premier League rivals Manchester City. The seasoned veteran had won Premier League titles at both of his previous clubs, and looked to do so again with Liverpool, despite being touted as ‘being past his best’.

Kolo went on to make 71 appearances for the reds, including a magnificent performance at the Bernabeu, the home of Real Madrid. He also scored a well-deserved goal for his troubles away to Aston Villa earlier this year, as well as being our best player in the Europa League Final by far. The man with a permanent smile on his face gained himself the status of cult hero around Anfield, with the fans especially taking a shining to King Kolo.

In a mostly inexperienced team, Toure will be hugely missed. His experience in the Premier League cannot be overvalued. To release a man who once one the league title without losing a game is a tremendous statement as to what Klopp is doing at Liverpool. The German’s  ruthlessness will not give way for sentimentality.

Thank you for everything Kolo, you’ll always be remembered for being the happiest footballer in the Premier League.

Featured Image – Sky Sports

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