My family were very poor. I am one of nine siblings: two girls and seven boys. Only my brother and I play in Europe, and then three more work in Europe, and another plays in Tunisia. This family is a footballing family, but our lives have not always been good.
I will never forget how I have been treated here by the fans, the club and the owners, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish my career as a Manchester City player.
The fans sing my name around the world. When I meet fans, they ask, ‘How are you? All good with your family?’
When you spend a lot of money on one player, you want him to prove himself, but the way football works, one day you can be good, the next you can be bad, and the next after that, you can be very bad. I have come to Manchester City to work very hard and to help my friends make Manchester City great.
I am very proud to be African. I want to defend African people, and I want to show to the world that African players can be as good as the Europeans and South Americans.
When we play at the World Cup, any African will back any African team. Because we want to hear the different approach to African football. We want to hear that Africans can do well, and Africans do well.
When you get the respect of the fans, it’s very hard not to be happy.
I am a midfielder who is mainly involved in the defensive phases, even if I also like to help build moves – I would say that my foremost quality is my generosity.
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.
I just had a normal African childhood; we played football a lot, but it was always in the street and always without shoes. Boots were very expensive, and when there are seven in your family, and you say you want to buy a pair, your father wants to kill you.
English football is so physical and fast that when you see a space, you have to go into it with all your speed.
Football brings you lots of lovely things, but then you have to realise that it’s actually a job.
You must respect people, and you must respect money. My father said to me: ‘When you respect money, money will respect you.’
The mentality with African and European people is different. In Africa, when you come from a difficult life, when it’s not so easy to eat, not so easy to survive, you respect money when you start to earn it, and you respect people more. When you respect people, they will respect you, and your life is better for that.