You can catch a thief, but you can't catch a liar. Or words to that effect.
There is a reason why such maxims have stood the test of time. Such sayings have remained true in life because human nature continues to lend itself to tricky behaviour.
It is why multi-millionaire popular singers such as Take That fraternise with tax avoidance schemes rather than pay what they can afford towards the public purse. Despite having plenty, it is why some members of the super-rich can't get enough for themselves.
When large sums of cash are wafting under their nostrils, the descent of man seems to know no bounds. Football at the elite level is a sewer.
When one studies the curious case of Yaya Toure and his ill-advised decision to suddenly show off his sensibilities after Manchester City apparently insulted him by presenting him with a birthday cake to mark his 31st birthday, we suddenly realise why it is impossible to catch a liar.
Deceit, dishonesty and deception. All three traits can be discovered in the bizarre behaviour of Toure, and an agent whose only slice of the cake he is interested in is the 10 percent his client will pocket from a fresh contract.
Above all, Toure's dismal conduct reeks of ignorance. It is disappointing when some onlookers were under the misguided impression that the Ivory Coast international Toure was better than such base motives.
We should have known better - because he is a Premier League footballer.
His crude conduct exudes a lack of common decency towards Manchester City's supporters, many of who fork out money they can barely afford for season tickets to watch these millionaires play.
The gap between football players in the Premier League, and the people who watch them has grown to such a depressing level that the working-class sport no longer has any class.
Al Pacino’s character in the film Scent of Woman probably had his take on the rat race of life right. And that was 22 years ago.
"Conscience is dead...it's f**k your buddy, cheat on your wife, call your mother on Mother's Day...it's all sh*t."
Football is a symptom of a wider malaise. A sport full of new money, questionable owners, players and agents on the make and figures who are not worth the paper they sign their bulging contracts on.
Loyalty is a dead concept. In football, there are no heroes any more. Certainly none that can be trusted with any degree of certainty.
There has been a form of financial vandalism afflicting the game that will never be reversed. Playing for the jersey has long since gone. The colour of money is much more important than the colour of a shirt.
The quotes from Toure's agent - a Mr Ten Percent called Dimitry Seluk - are ludicrous and comical, whether said without or without a straight face.
"He got a cake, but when it was Roberto Carlos's birthday, the president of Anzhi gave him a Bugatti," said Seluk.
"I don't expect City to present Yaya with a Bugatti, we only asked that they shook his hand and said 'we congratulate you'.
"It is the minimum they must do when it is his birthday and the squad is all together.
"Of course Yaya is upset about this. If this happened to you..and nobody shakes your hand, you will say bye-bye and go to work for somebody else. It is normal."
It is not normal. Nobody requires their employer to wish them anything.
All you want are decent working hours, decent holidays, being paid on time and enough money to support a lifestyle. All of which Toure has and much, much more.
This is a man earning an estimated £300,000 each week. His attitude is sickening as he tries to "work his ticket". Apparently, hankering after a move back to Barcelona.
“Everything Dimitry said is true. He speaks for me. I will give an interview after World Cup to explain," Toure is quoted as saying after initially distancing himself from the comments.
"Yes, I have talked before about ending my career at Barcelona — but we don’t know because football is moving fast and you never know about tomorrow."
City fans should start singing "he just can’t get enough" the next time they come across this 6’ 5” man child. But some won't. Because he scored 24 goals last season.
That makes such unacceptable behaviour excusable in football, unfortunately.
Toure has intimated he feels under-appreciated and disrespected by the English champions. Which is complete tosh.
What was wrong with him having a quiet word in the ear of the coach Manuel Pellegrini to say he would like a move back to Spain after four years in England rather than concocting a shambolic and weird story to try to make his club look bad?
Bring back the days of Paul Dickov and Shaun Goater. At least there was a veil of honesty and likeability enveloping City when they were languishing in the old Second Division.
City are in a position of strength regarding this farce. They are perhaps the only club in the world that does not need to sell. They do not need to retrieve the £24m they paid Barca to sign Toure in 2010. Neither do they have to offer any more money to men on the make. Or a Bugatti to a man who needs a sports car like a hole in the head.
Toure has taken bad advice from his agent. His public persona has suffered irretrievable damage from this episode, but he will not care if his club offers him an extra £50,000 a week to make him feel better between birthdays.
Those sums would not be a problem for the club's Abu Dhabi owners to come up with. Nor would plucking a Bugatti straight out of the wrapper from the Gulf. But this comes down to more than money. It comes down to what is morally right or wrong. And what is fiscally right amid Financial Fair Play fines.
Rather than get rid of Toure, City should let him sit in the reserves and do his penance if he is unwilling to play ball.
Deceit, deception and dishonesty. The hallmarks of professional football at the highest level.
They are also the new trademarks of Yaya Toure, every bit as protruding as his rampaging runs from deep.
You can spot a thief. We are reminded that you will never corner a liar.
- Sports & Recreation
- Yaya Toure
- Manchester City