Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure feels he does not get the respect he deserves because he is from Africa.
The Ivory Coast international has won league titles in England, Spain and Greece as well as his homeland, is a key figure in City’s push for more silverware and is on the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association’s player of the season award. And the 30-year-old echoed club colleague Samir Nasri’s claim that only his birthplace has blocked him from being hailed as one of the best midfielders in the world.
"I think what Samir was saying was definitely true," Toure told BBC Sport. "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."
Compatriot Didier Drogba and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o have also reached the top level of European football and Toure said: "Those players are more than legends for me and Africa. 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."
Luis Suarez is a widespread odds-on favorite for the PFA award, with Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard also ahead of Toure in the betting. But the City star said he would "definitely" be unhappy to miss out, adding: "As a champion, as a winner, I always want to win."
The talismanic midfielder will miss up to two weeks due to a groin injury. The former Barcelona star limped out of Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool 19 minutes in – shortly after shooting off-target and appearing to tweak a muscle.
Toure, 30, was initially all but ruled out of playing again this season, so the news will come as a boost to City as they attempt to overhaul Liverpool at the business end of the Premier League campaign. The Manchester City Twitter feed quoted manager Manuel Pellegrini as saying of Toure: "Yaya has a muscle injury and we’ll see how it is. Maybe it’s not as bad as we thought at the beginning but he needs at least ten days or two weeks to recover."