Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy believes football’s profile is a strong weapon in the fight against racism.
Since the Premier League resumed last week, players have taken the knee after kick-off in games in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
France international Mendy, 25, grew up in an inclusive culture and hopes the powerful messages football has the capacity to send can make a big impact in wider society.
Mendy said: “It is difficult because I grew up in Paris and we all go to school, to the Academy with white people, mixed race people, Asian people, black people. The way I lived with them we are all the same, all a family.
“When I see that around the world, I think in football we have the facility to send a big message and can change a lot of things.
“We can find a solution, but I think we need to be all together and send a big message because what happens is not normal and is from nothing. Every person going to work or every person going to school, we are all the same.”
Mendy joined City in 2017 but his first two seasons at the club were ravaged by injury, including two serious knee problems which required surgery.
He is still to reproduce the dynamic form of his early career at Monaco on a regular basis but the recent lockdown gave him chance to work on his fitness. He now feels in fine shape and is determined to make his mark at the Etihad Stadium.
Mendy said: “This is my time. All the time I lost was not the same because I was injured.
“The way Manchester City, the staff, the players were behind me, helped me, pushed me, I want to give them the real Mendy back.
“Inside, I know the way I work. It was hard when I was in the hospital, the recovery. People don’t see all of that. It is not easy.
“Even in the first game you are back you are expected to be at the top because people watch the game for that. They don’t have time to say he was injured.
“They want a good performance and I understand that and it gives me more motivation to work hard. I think now I am in one my best periods at Manchester City.”