African players have “fatalistic resignation” and do not have the hunger to reach the highest level, according to four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure.
The Manchester City midfielder is the favourite to take the award again this time around and is the only player from his continent to be named on the 23-man shortlist for the 2015 Ballon d’Or.
Toure, 32, blamed the absence of other African players on the list on a lack focus after reaching a level of comfort.
“Africans have a tendency to slack off,” he said. “They are living in a world of their own. They believe they made it, they are the greatest, the strongest. But they don’t understand that there are many more hills to climb to reach the top.
“Unfortunately, many only see the bright side of this job: the easy money, the girls, the parties, the big cars and the beautiful clothes. And they give up too quickly on the idea of matching the best players.”
The Ivory Coast captain added: “Many are content with little. They send money back home and are safe for the next few years. What is the point of suffering?
“I have the feeling they prohibit themselves from dreaming big with a kind of fatalistic resignation. They believe that the highest level is not for them.”
Toure feels the current generation of African footballers are failing to match the exploits of greats Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba but accepts the contribution the pair made is hard to match.
“For some time now, I have also seen that Africans are struggling to impose themselves or to exist in larger teams,” he said.
“But all this is just the fault of Didier, Eto’o, [Michael] Essien or [Jay Jay] Okocha. And perhaps, too, a little bit of my own, without wanting to look pretentious.
“These players then have set the bar so high that it is very hard to come back.”