Manchester City and Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure says African stars are not celebrated like their counterparts from other parts of the world, because they don’t get the proper “recognition from the media”.
The three-time Caf Player of the Year thinks it’s easier for media to pick on him- after a bad outing- than promote him.
“To be honest, proper recognition has only come from the fans,” said the ex-Barcelona midfielder. “I don’t want to be hard and I don’t want to be negative, but I want to be honest.
“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.”
Toure’s 22 goals in 31 Man City games have enabled him join Liverpool trio of Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, and Daniel Sturridge and the likes of Eden Hazard and Adam Lallana in the shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year award.
He said he will be disheartened not to win the Premier League award.
In an interview for Football Focus on BBC World News, the 30-year-old re-echoed teammate Samir Nasri’s intuitions that he would have gotten proper recognition as one of the world’s best playmaker were he not an African.
Having 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, Toure is unhappy why he shouldn’t be regarded as a class act- with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo the usual suspects known the world over.
“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,” the midfielder added.
He added that George Weah- the only African winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1995, Samuel Eto’O Fills and fellow international Didier Drogba “are more than legends for him and Africa,” but felt only the former AC Milan and Liberia has earned appreciation for his role in football.