Ghanaian soccer star, Thomas Partey, does not get the praise he deserves from the European football media, according to his club coach. And for coach Diego Simeone, there are many reasons he could give as to why but he must “shut up”.
Simeone was speaking after his side, Atletico Madrid, won 0-2 away in a Champions League game against Russian opponents Lokomotiv Moscow.
But for many, the Argentine coach’s comment only illustrates an obvious yet unspoken truth that Partey does not receive the due hype because he is not white and European.
Simeone himself said nothing about race, only stating: “If he had come from an English or German team, he would be [lauded] but he’s from the academy and he’s just Thomas.”
Partey was voted man of the match (MVP in a North American context) in the game against Loko. This comes on the back of another man of the match honour in the game against Real Madrid prior to Moscow.
Sportswriters and fans alike took to Twitter to praise Partey after he put in an amazing performance and a goal in Moscow on Tuesday night.
Indeed, the question of why he is underrated by European football media was posed after his team’s last two games.
Some tweeters admitted that it was about time to accept the obvious.
However, a supportive minority felt that recent social media thoughts of football fans are just the sort of attention that the player deserves.
Partey’s is not an isolated case for black African footballers in Europe. Aside from the overt and explicit racism a lot of them have to face, they also have to contend with underestimation and undervaluing.
Or while they receive praise for being tireless, it is implied that they are not smart enough.
Indeed, in 2014, a soccer coach of French side Bordeaux, Willy Sagnol , faced backlash after stating that “The advantage of what I would call the typical African player is that they are cheap… ready to fight. But football is not just about that. It is about technique, intelligence, discipline, so you need everything.”