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Man City's star Yaya Toure says African footballers get less recognition than they deserve

Published on: 19 April 2014
Yaya Toure says African footballers are discriminated against when it comes to recognition

Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure thinks he is not regarded as one of the best players in the world because he is from Africa.

Toure, 30, has 22 goals this season, helping City to win the League Cup and challenge for the Premier League title.

Samir Nasri recently said Toure would be celebrated as one of the world's best midfielders were he not African.

In an interview for Football Focus on BBC World News, he said: "I think what Samir was saying was definitely true."

The midfielder has won league titles in four countries - Ivory Coast, Greece, Spain and England - and was part of the Barcelona team that won the Champions League in 2009.

He also feels fellow countryman Didier Drogba and Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o are undervalued because they are African.

"To be honest, proper recognition has only come from the fans," said the three-time African player of the year. "I don't want to be hard and I don't want to be negative, but I want to be honest."

Toure feels the media should do more to promote African players.

"If we play well and we don't have the recognition from the media, we are not going to be where we want to be," he said.

Toure also feels African players need to do far more to stand out, drawing comparisons with Barcelona duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi, both former team-mates of his.

He says Iniesta and Xavi are often praised for their attacking skills, but rarely singled out for criticism when they fail to defend properly.

In contrast, Toure claims he is regularly picked on by the media when he makes a defensive mistake.

The Ivorian is also unhappy that Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the best players in the world along with Cristiano Ronaldo, is recognised around the world but players like himself are not.

He said: "If you go to any part of Africa now, people will say, 'yes, we know him [Messi]', but when you come to Europe and say 'Yaya Toure' people will say, 'who is that?' Some will say they know my name but not know my face. But they will know Messi's face."

Toure, who played in Belgium, Ukraine, Greece, France and Spain before moving to England, says he will be disappointed if he is not named player of the year by the Professional Footballers' Association.

He is one of six players on the shortlist, alongside Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Southampton's Adam Lallana and the Liverpool trio of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.

Asked if he would be unhappy not to win the award, Toure replied: "Definitely. As a champion, as a winner, I always want to win."

Asked to reflect on the fact there has only been one African winner of the Ballon d'Or - former AC Milan and Liberia striker George Weah in 1995 - Toure cited the significant contributions made by players such as fellow Africans Eto'o and Drogba at club level.

"Those players are more than legends for me and Africa," said Toure.

Asked if he knew if players such as Eto'o and Drogba also felt under-appreciated, the former Barcelona player replied: "Definitely."

He added: "I am very proud to be African, I want to defend African people and I want to show to the world that African players can be as good as the Europeans and South Americans."

Do you think Yaya Toure is right? Why was Samuel Eto'o not recognised when he excelled at Barcelona? Make your views known in the box below:


This article has 4 comment(s), give your comment
  • Benny says:
    April 19, 2014 11:40 am
    Yaya Toure is not recognise not because he is an African but because of his team.Man City only become a contender in the premier league last four years with the Arab money infusion and even with all the investment they only won the premier league once last two years .Man City is not consistent enough.look at the champions league,they have not gone beyond the quarter final stage.Drogba is recognised everywhere because at his time at Chelsea,they were consistant. When Yaya was at Barca,he was only a sub player. If Yaya was at Bayarn ,even Barca with his current form,Chelsea,Real Madrid,he will definitely get the recognition he deserves.On the international scene,Ivory coast is only a whet wash fancy team Your teams performance in terms of winning cups boast your profile. Yaya is a cult Icon in man city because the know him.When this news broke out,l know how some people here in the uk gets nasty with comment like that but surprise,l not seen any viral comment on sky,mail online,the goes to show how those who knows him appreciate his talent. African's has to stop making petty excuses.When an African fail to get a job,they will quickly say it is because they are black.Yes there are elements of racism about by some petty ignorant low lives but things are changing and Africans needs to look at the big picture and stop winging all the time. If Yaya really wants to be recognised,then he should market himself like Beckham,Ronaldo etc.model in mr muscle magazines,appear on talk shows,cheat on your wife.These will blow his name everywhere. Yaya should take things cool because because his £1million plus earnings a month is something he should be worried about.Those recognition comes with their problems. Yaya should try and help Ivory Coast to win the World Cup and he be a global icon overnight.
  • Rass says:
    April 19, 2014 08:14 am
    That's the way it is, brother Toure i really appreciate what u just said so be bold and said it louder again n again. Africa stand up n fight for wright, one love one Africa
  • Assisi says:
    April 19, 2014 07:47 am
    Yahya Toure is the man. Thanks for saying what you are saying. That is absolutely true and I salute you for that courage. Average European players are raised to the pedestals ahead of top players like Toure just because the latter is African. That has to change immediately.
  • Mumbi says:
    April 19, 2014 10:28 am
    Suarez better than Toure but ghanaians can not recognize him just bcoz of jelous and hatret for him. Fibantu fyalupato ifi ma apes fi.