Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, one of six nominees for the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) player of the year award, says he would have more global recognition if he was not from Africa.
The talismanic Ivory Coast international believes he and Africans like compatriot Didier Drogba and Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o would be more appreciated around the world but for their heritage.
Born: Sokoura Bouake, Ivory Coast
Date of Birth: 13 May, 1983
Individual Honours: African Footballer of the Year 2011-2013; PFA Premier League Team of the Year FA 2011-2012; Community Shield Man of the Match 2012; BBC African Footballer of the Year 2013
Teams: Beveren 2001-2003; Metalurh Donetsk 2003-2005; Olympiakos 2005-2006; Monaco 2006-2007; Barcelona 2007-2010; Manchester City 2010-present
International debut: 2004, caps 82
City team mate Samir Nasri suggested last month that it would be a different story for Toure if he had been born in Europe or South America.
"I think what Samir was saying was definitely true," Toure told media.
"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."
Toure has won domestic titles in Ivory Coast, Greece, Spain and England and the 2009 Champions League with Barcelona but said that despite his success he was not as well known as Barcelona's Lionel Messi or Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
"If you go to any part of Africa now people will say, 'yes, we know him (Messi)' but when you come to Europe and say 'Yaya Toure' people will say, 'who is that?'," he added.
Shortlisted against Suarez
He is one of six players on the shortlist for the Professional Footballers' Association, alongside Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Southampton's Adam Lallana and the Liverpool trio of Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
Asked if he would be unhappy not to win the award, Toure replied: "Definitely. As a champion, as a winner, I always want to win."
Asked to reflect on the fact there has only been one African winner of the Ballon d'Or - former AC Milan and Liberia striker George Weah in 1995 - Toure cited the significant contributions made by players such as fellow Africans Eto'o and Drogba at club level.
"Those players are more than legends for me and Africa," said Toure.
"I want to show to the world that African players can be as good as the Europeans and South Americans," said Toure.
The Ivorian has scored 18 Premier League goals for third-placed City this season but will miss their next home game with West Bromwich Albion through injury.