Yaya Toure: I don't get recognition because I'm African

The Ivory Coast international says he wants to prove players from his continent are as good as those from Europe and South America

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure believes he is not recognised as one of the world’s best players because he is African.

The Ivory Coast international, who has won league titles in England, Spain and Greece, as well as the Champions League with Barcelona, was among the six names shortlisted for the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Player of the Year award on Friday.

Following the club’s Capital One Cup victory at Wembley in March, Samir Nasri claimed Toure would be considered as the best midfielder in the world if he wasn’t African.

“I think what Samir was saying was definitely true,” Toure told BBC’s Football Focus. “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 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.

“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.”

Gerrard, Sturridge & Suarez nominated as Liverpool dominate PFA Player of the Year shortlist

The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 27 and Suarez is favourite to be crowned the top footballer in England following a blistering season

Three Liverpool players have been shortlisted for the Player of the Year award, formally announced by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) on Friday.

Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are joined by Yaya Toure, Eden Hazard and Adam Lallana on the list of six candidates who have been nominated by the players’ union.

The winner will be announced at the 41st PFA awards at Grosvenor House on Sunday, April 27.

Suarez is favourite for the award thanks to a blistering season which has helped propell Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table.

The Uruguayan has scored 29 goals in 29 league matches so far this season to help put the Reds on the brink of their first title since 1990, and would be the first South American to lift the award since its inception in 1974.

He represents Liverpool alongside Gerrard and Sturridge.

Gerrard has previously won the award in 2005-06, while Sturridge has also been nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and will be hopeful of emulating Gareth Bale, who won both gongs last season.

Toure, whose 18 league goals from midfield have been key for Manchester City this season, would be the first African player to be honoured by the PFA’s main honour.

Hazard has been named on the list two months after his manager at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, complained that the Belgian had never won a Player of the Month award, which is awarded by the Premier League.

The 24-year-old has often been the stand-out performer in the Blues’ attack this season, scoring 14 goals in 33 league matches. He, like Sturridge, has also been named on the Young Player of the Year shortlist.

Adam Lallana has also made the list following an outstanding season for Southampton, which has seen him thrust into the reckoning for Roy Hodgson’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup.

Last year, Bale, then at Tottenham, won both the PFA Footballer of the Year and PFA Young Footballer of the Year awards, as well as the Football Writers’ award.

PFA delegates delivered the ballot forms to the 92 Premier and Football League clubs in March, before all votes were counted by Beever & Struthers Chartered Accountants this week.

Start Believing: Yaya's quest for perfection

The Ivorian’s notebook full of musings on the “mysteries of the game” features in the latest of our series chronicling the extraordinary power of belief

Unlike brother Kolo, who famously missed the start of the second half of Arsenal’s Champions League match against Roma in 2009 because he was waiting for William Gallas (who was still receiving treatment for a half time injury) to emerge from the dressing room so that he could be the last onto the pitch, Manchester City star Yaya Toure has adopted a more scientific – and intriguing approach to the game.

He carries a note book around with him in which he writes down ideas which he hopes “will crack the eternal mysteries of the game”. “Like physicists who try throughout their careers to crack a scientific code, I’m trying to break all the mysteries of football. I have complete faith that a deeper level of thinking will make me a better player,” Toure told France Football in 2013.

The Cote d’Ivoire international also added that within his note book, he critiques all his opponents, and makes notes on his own performance. It would be easy to mock Toure’s scholarly approach to football, but Toure insists that “deep thinking about my sport helps makes me a better player, and focuses my mind.”

He’s not the only foreign star in the Premier League to take a cerebral approach. Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o goes through his own pre-match analysis of the opposition defence, noting precisely how players distribute the ball and which goalkeepers like to dribble, but Toure’s admission that he likes to study football, and his belief that the game “is a science,” is a refreshing change from the anti-intellectual dogma that has often blighted the English game. In time, Toure wants to utilise his findings as a coach.

Yaya Toure could be out out for two weeks, confirms Pellegrini

The club have revealed the midfielder’s injury is not as bad as first feared and also say that Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero are fit to face Sunderland

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that Yaya Toure could be out of action for two weeks.

The Ivory Coast international was substituted after just 19 minutes of Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield after picking up a muscle injury but the City boss says the problem is not as bad as first feared.

“Maybe it’s not as bad as we thought at the beginning but he needs at least ten days or two weeks to recover,” Pellegrini told reporters.

Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero have also been struggling with injury, but as has been revealed, the City skipper has returned to training, and Pellegrini confirmed both could face Sunderland on Wednesday.

“Vincent [Kompany] is fine – he on the squad list for tomorrow and so is Sergio [Aguero] – we’ll see tomorrow who starts,” he added.

Sunday’s defeat means the Chilean’s side are now seven points behind leaders Liverpool, but Pellegrini remains optimistic his side can still claim the title.

“[If] we win our two postponed games and we’re a point behind. If you don’t believe we can do it, you can’t believe in anything,” he said.

“It’s important we start with the same high performance we showed in the second half of the Liverpool game.”

Kompany trains as Manchester City await Yaya Toure scan results

The Belgian defender was back on the training pitch on Tuesday with his knee heavily strapped, while the club are set to discover if the Ivorian midfielder’s season is over

Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany returned to training on Tuesday, allaying fears that he could be absent for the entirety of their title run-in, Goal can reveal.

The defender, whose knee was heavily strapped for the session at the club’s Carrington training base, underwent scans following Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Liverpool but the results have revealed no lasting damage.

The Belgium international suffered the injury in training on Saturday after clashing with Micah Richards although he was passed fit for the crucial meeting at Anfield despite initial fears that he would not recover in time.

Kompany endured a difficult afternoon on Merseyside, with the centre-back making a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes as City fell to defeat and drifted seven points behind Brendan Rodgers’s side at the top of the table.

The scan results will come as a positive for Manuel Pellegrini after losing ground in the title race, with City facing up to the prospect of needing to win all six of their remaining Premier League games to be in with a shot of being crowned champions.

The club are, however, still awaiting news on Yaya Toure’s injury after fears that his season could be over.

The Ivory Coast international was substituted after just 19 minutes of the defeat to Liverpool and, having undergone scans to assess his knee and groin on Monday, the results are set to be released later on Tuesday.