'World-class' Yaya Toure isn't appreciated because he's African, says Nasri

The French playmaker believes the Ivorian’s nationality “counts against him”, lauding him as one of the world’s best, while he does not fear Chelsea’s title charge

Samir Nasri has lavished praise on Manchester City team-mate Yaya Toure, but does not believe the Ivorian receives the recognition he deserves because of his nationality.

The former Barcelona man netted his 17th goal of the season with a stunning long-range equaliser in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday, a strike that galvanised Manuel Pellegrini’s men and helped them to a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.

Nasri is convinced the three-time African Player of the Year is the best midfielder in the world and believes he would be more highly regarded by others were he Brazilian or Argentine.

“I’m tired [of talking] about Yaya. You should know now [how good he is]. If he wasn’t African everyone will say he’s the best midfielder in the world,” Nasri told reporters.

“He can do everything, he can score goals, he can defend, he can attack. When he gets the ball he is so powerful.

“You should just admire the way he plays because he’s a great player. I might be a little bit biased because he’s my friend, but for me he’s in the top three of the best midfielders in the world.

“Of course it counts against him being from Ivory Coast. If he was Argentine or Brazilian everyone will talk about him, everyone. You have some Brazilians or Argentinians, I don’t want to say anything wrong, but just because they are from this country you pay them £40 million or £50m.

“A guy like Yaya, he [has] won every trophy, he is always there. Tell me one defensive midfielder who can go forward like him who can score 16 or 17 goals in a season. Tell me one and then we can talk.”

City are currently six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea but, with two games in hand, Nasri says he does not fear the Blues’ title charge and is confident the side can swiftly return to the summit.

“I’m not scared about Chelsea or the league,” the Frenchman continued. “There is plenty more to play and everyone is going to have difficult games and if we win our two games we are going to be top of the league. It’s better not to talk but to act on the pitch.

“We are there in the league, if we win our two games in hand we will be top with Chelsea.

“It’s going to be tough until the end because Liverpool are still there. And we play Wigan home in the FA Cup and it’s going to be a good time to have revenge [for last season’s final defeat].”

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