MANCHESTER: Yaya Toure has finally won the BBC’s African Footballer of the Year trophy. The Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder pipped Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nigeria’s Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi and Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa.

He said: “I think I’ve been nominated for five years in a row and finally winning the award is amazing. It’s fantastic because I don’t think there has ever been as many quality African players in top-level international football as there are now.

” African football is improving and that means a lot to us and, as an African, I’m very happy.”

The shortlist for the award was drawn up by 44 football experts across Africa, who based their choices on players’ skill, technical ability, teamwork, consistency and fair play. Fans then voted online or by text.

Toure added: “Thank you to all the fans around the world who continue to support me. It shows how much fans love you and appreciate your job as well.

“It’s something special because it’s not the vote of the manager or the club or the captain of the national team, it’s just the fans.

“When you have a lot of fans behind you, it’s always amazing. And I’m very happy as it is the fans who have given it to me – so I’m very appreciative.”

After Manchester City’s disappointing failure to make a better fist of their Premier League title defence they have scored a revivalist flood of goals under new coach Manuel Pellegrini while also reaching the second round of the Champions League for the first time.

Toure was also a key figure in Ivory Coast’s successful qualification for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

He has also been a leading figure among players in the fight against racism. His complaint about abuse during a Champions League match against Russia’s CSKA Moscow in October led to a partial ground suspension.