Samir Nasri believes Yaya Toure does not receive the acclaim he deserves as one of the world’s top midfielders because he is African.
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Nasri and Ivory Coast international Toure both scored spectacular goals as Manchester City beat Sunderland to win the Capital One Cup on Sunday, and the Frenchman argued the 30-year-old is underrated because of his nationality.
Toure has been named African Player of the Year three times in a row but Nasri feels he does not receive enough recognition elsewhere because is not Brazilian or Argentine.
The former Arsenal player was quoted as saying in The Guardian: "If he wasn't African everyone will say he's the best midfielder in the world. 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 Argentinian 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 pounds or 50 million pounds.”
Toure’s long-range equaliser at Wembley -- which the Ivorian described as his best ever goal -- was the 17th goal of the most prolific season of his career.
He has also now won the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup in England to add to the six major honours he lifted during Barcelona’s remarkable haul in 2009.
Nasri added: "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."