Elham Asaad Buaras
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Touré believes he is not regarded as one of the best players in the world because he is from Africa.
The Ivorian has scored 22 goals this season, helping City win the League Cup and the Premier League title. Touré has won titles in four different countries – Ivory Coast, Greece, Spain and England – and was part of the Barcelona team that won the Champions League in 2009 and he has been crowned as African Player of the Year on three occasions.
Despite his accomplishments he has never been nominated for the FIFA Fifa Ballon d’or award. Club-mate Samir Nasri said Touré would be celebrated as one of the world’s best midfielders if he was not African, a sentiment Touré certainly seems to agree with.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Football Focus on BBC World News, Toure said that African footballers as a whole are undermined and claimed that in certain parts of Europe, people do not know who he is but on the other hand, everyone around the world is able to recognise Lionel Messi – the player heralded as the best in the world.
Touré said, “I think what Samir was saying was definitely true. To be honest, proper recognition has only come from the fans. I don’t want to be hard and I don’t want to be negative, but I want to be honest.
“If you go to any part of Africa now, people will say ‘yes, we know him [Lionel Messi]’, but when you come to Europe and say ‘Yaya Touré’ 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. 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.”
Touré 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. “People regard people from Africa as animals.”