Yaya Toure caused a bit of a stir recently when he claimed he is overlooked as one of the best players in world football, simply because he is African. And he's right, to some extent.
Although he's not as great a passer as Xavi nor is he as prolific in front of goal as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, you could easily make a case for him as the most complete football player in the world today.
Going forward he is the heart that drives Manchester City and he is always involved one way or another. That's why opposing teams often identify him as the biggest threat when facing the Blues; His 19 league goals and six assists are a testament to that.
No one has the combination of size, speed and skill that he possesses and teams are often left at a loss as to how to deal with him. Sunday's performance against Crystal Palace was the latest example of his all-round game at it's sparkling best as he delivered a sweet lob right onto Edin Dzeko's forehead for the first goal.
He then followed that up by linking up with Dzeko and Samir Nasri for a couple of one-twos in the middle of the park, easily outrun and out-muscled Damien Delaney and capped the move off with a perfectly placed strike, right into the top corner with his supposedly weaker left foot.
Defensively he's no slouch either, having played as the deep-lying midfielder during his time with Barcelona. He even filled in at centerback at times, most notably in the 2009 Champions League final against Manchester United.
So yes, Toure deserves a lot more recognition for his ability. However, I'm not as sold that him being African is the problem.
Many outstanding African players have been recognised as being one of the best in the world at what they do. You don't have to go that far back to the days when Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o was third in the world player of the year votes, or when fellow Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba was hailed as one of the game's finest strikers.
If anything, the team that he plays for and their short coming has had a bigger bearing on his status.
City lack the prestige and success of the clubs the other "more famous" players have represented. Cristiano Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid, Lionel Messi for Barcelona and Franck Ribery for Bayern Munich. Those are arguably the three biggest clubs in world football and each have been a powerhouse in Europe. Meanwhile City have failed to emulate their domestic success on the games' biggest stage.
Heck, they only managed to escape the clutches of the Champions League group stages for the first time this year, despite their considerable war chest.
Those sort of short comings typically won't earn you any favour with the Ballon d'Or voters. Plus, this is a game that rewards the attacking players and he simply doesn't do that enough to warrant such an award.
And as for the PFA Player of the year, it's hard to argue against Luis Suarez considering he has created or scored 42 goals this season - more than else anyone in Europe's top five leagues.
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