London (AFP) – Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy says football can be a powerful weapon in the fight against racism as Premier League players continue to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Since the English top-flight resumed last week, players have taken the knee after kick-off to show their support for the battle against racism.
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.
“I grew up in Paris and we all go to school, to the academy with white people, mixed-race people, Asian people, black people,” he said.
“The way I lived with them we are all the same, all a family.”
Mendy said football had the platform to make a difference.
“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,” he said.
Mendy joined City in 2017 but his first two seasons at the club were ravaged by injury, including two serious knee problems that required surgery.
He now feels in good shape and is determined to make his mark at the Etihad Stadium.
“This is my time,” he said. “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.
“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.”