Yaya Touré scored 20 goals in the Premier League last season, notching 9 assists along the way. The midfielder – yes, this is not a striker notching these sorts of stats – had the most league goals for Manchester City, making him a not-insignificant figure in their lifting of the Premier League title.
Despite these impressive numbers, it was Luis Suárez who took home England’s most significant awards, including the PFA Player of the Year, the FWA Footballer of the Year, the FSF Player of the Year and the Barclays Player of the Season. Suárez did score 33 goals for Liverpool last season, but his team ultimately came second in the league.
Meanwhile, Touré has won the African Footballer of the Year award three times, but has never received a league-wide honor of the likes showered upon Suárez this season. He also finished 12th in the Ballon d’Or voting, which Cristiano Ronaldo ultimately won, with Lionel Messi and Franck Ribéry finishing close behind. His agent, Dmitri Seluk, says the reason is because his client is a black African:
If he was white, 100 percent he would have won one of those top awards. He is a bit upset about the situation. Messi is the top player in the history of football and I respect Ronaldo and Ribery a lot. Yaya respects all these players. But for an African in these awards it is hard. Fifa needs to change something.
In fact, George Weah remains the only African to have won the Ballon d’Or. The Liberian won in 1995. No African player has won the PFA Player of the Year or the FWA Footballer of the Year award.