Manchester City Balls: £200,000 A Week Yaya Toure Says He Is Undervalued Because He’s A Black African
YAYA Toure, Manchester City’s midfield force of nature, tells the BBC’s Football Focus on BBC World News, that he would be held in higher regard were he not African:
“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.”
In 2013, Toure signed a £45m four-year deal at City. He earns well in excess of £200,000 a week. He said at the time:
“I will never forget how I have been treated here by the fans, the club and the owners and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player.”
So. What is proper recognition?
“If we [African footballers] play well and we don’t have the recognition from the media, we are not going to be where we want to be.”
Toure is on the shortlist to be named on the PFA Player of the Year:
Steven Gerrard – Liverpool
Eden Hazard – Chelsea
Adam Lallana – Southampton
Daniel Sturridge – Liverpool
Luis Suarez – Liverpool
Yaya Toure – Manchester City
The BBC says:
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 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.”
Is that more to do with marketing than media? Messi is on the face of a FIFA football games. He is also ridiculously good at football. Toure is a top player, but Messi is one of the greats.
It’s not football that is biased against black African players; it’s consumerism, maybe. Is this a question of whether of not black African faces can shift as many units of boots and video games as whites can? Who do the buying public in the big football markets relate to more – a European or an African?
The BBC adds:
Toure, who played in Belgium, Russia, 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.
But if he isn’t it won’t be because of his race or roots or colour. Football is, arguably, the most visible area of life where ability and not race matters most. If Toure doesn’t win, it will not be because his fellow pros are bigots. It will be because the pros thought another footballer played better.