Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey: African players need to work harder than Europeans

Atletico de Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey believes African players have to work multiple times as hard as European players to get the same level of recognition.

The 26-year-old has developed into one of African football’s standout players and has become an increasingly key figure for Los Rojiblancos as well as the Ghana national team.

Having surpassed over 160 matches in La Liga, the versatile central midfielder explained how whilst talent is a prerequisite, African footballers have to jump through more hurdles to be noticed than their European counterparts.

“The most important is to have the talent,” Partey said in an interview with Spanish football journalist Dermot Corrigan, published on CNN.

“But then there is already a European in your position. You have to work harder than them, double or triple as hard. That’s the only way for African players to be successful in Europe.”

Racism remains a major problem in Spanish football, seen most recently with Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams suffering abuse during a LaLiga game at Espanyol in late January.

Partey also spoke of the problem of racism in Spanish football, in light of the racially-motivated abuse Athletic Club Bilbao forward Inaki Williams.

“It (racism) happens, but I just try to be myself, always, not to listen to them, and enjoy my game,” the added.

“When you try and control it, it will come back. I’m there to play. As long as you don’t give your mind to them, it will never affect you.”

The Ghanaian international went on to address his side’s upcoming Champions League clash against Liverpool, for which Diego Simeone’s side are massive underdogs.

“We know it’s not going to be easy,” said Partey. “But every team who gets to the last 16 is one of the best teams in Europe. We’re used to difficult situations.

“We’ll do our homework and I’m sure we’ll be at the level we’re supposed to be. We don’t think of the end, we focus on now, and build our confidence until we can achieve what we are going to achieve.”

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