Soloman Kalou would not have played in Ivory Coast's game against Malawi had he known the full scale of the tragedy beforehand.
At least 130 people were injured and 19 killed in a stampede in Abidjan shortly before their World Cup qualifier last Sunday.
Ivory Coast went on to win the match 5-0, but Kalou insists he would not have played had he been aware of the events and that in Europe the match would have been called off.
Kalou believes the human cost of the disaster far outweighed the importance of the contest and that any of the spectators could easily have been friends or family.
"If something like that had taken place in Europe I don't think the game would have taken place," he told Sky Sports News.
"As a player I wouldn't have been part of the game had I known that before.
"It wasn't just one or two people. Even if it was just one person I think a person's life is more important than a football game.
"I was really sad because those people could have been one of my family or friends.
"It's still people from my country and people to come to see me and my team play. I feel like it happened to one of my family.
"Everyone was sad and now we're trying to find a solution for the people who lost family members."