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Is it time this Dortmund star took Yaya’s African crown?


Manchester City’s Yaya Touré will become the most recognised African player of all time should he win his 5th successive African Player of the Year title at the CAF’s annual awards gala in Nigeria in January – but there is plenty of talent standing in the way of the Ivory Coast star.

Touré captained les Éléphants to African Cup of Nations glory back in February but has had an up-and-down year with City as they were beaten comfortably to the Premier League title by José Mourinho’s Chelsea in May, as well as consistently failing to impress in the Champions League.

The 32-year-old has met little competition in strolling to the individual African prize for the past 4 years, following his largely barnstorming performances for City since he joined from Barcelona in 2010. He’s helped himself to nearly 250 appearances and 67 goals in that time, but his form has begun to take a slow decline since he was awarded the Citizen’s Player of the Year award for the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has failed to get anywhere near his 24 goal personal best.

Meanwhile, a silent assassin has been mounting an inconspicuous charge for Yaya’s seemingly safe African crown.

Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang may not have enjoyed Touré’s success on the international scene as the Gabon captained failed to lead his side out of the African Cup of Nations group stages, but his form in the Bundesliga has made him a transfer target for some of the world’s biggest sides. Scouts representing the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal have had their beady eyes on the striker as he consistently brought home the goods at the spearhead of a frightening Dortmund side.

Aubameyang is the highest scorer out of all of Europe’s top 5 leagues, excluding only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with his 39 goal haul which inluded two hat-tricks in just four days at the end of October. His battle with Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski for the Bundesliga golden boot has become almost as enthralling as BVB’s assault on Pep Guardiola’s title-winning side itself.

Almost unnoticed Auba has taken the award’s silver medal two years running, but his form in front of goal coupled with Touré’s far from outstanding year at the Etihad could see Samuel Eto’o’s record 4 wins remain unbeaten.

The pacey striker isn’t the sole rival to Touré’s crown, either. Last year’s bronze medallist Riyad Mahrez has only improved since last season and is now hunting down Leicester teammate Jamie Vardy for the Premier League’s top goalscorer prize, despite playing out on the wing for Claudio Ranieri’s side. As part of an exciting young Algerian side too, Mahrez is surely in for some recognition.

Backed up by the likes of Mahrez and Ghana’s Andre Ayew, Aubameyang is finally expected to make a serious challenge for the continent’s top prize – but he’ll have to keep his impressive form going until the New Year if he’s to be in with a shot of snatching Yaya’s recordbreaking crown.

AFCON Africa Aubameyang Ayew Borussia Borussia Dortmund CAF Dortmund Emerick Eto'o football Lewandowski Nations Pierre Pierre Emerick Aubameyang Toure Yaya Yaya Toure Year

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