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Eto’o: Messi Did Not Want Me To Leave

Inter’s hero of the day yesterday Samuel Eto’o has for the first time shed some light on his infamous departure from Spanish giants Barcelona. According to Eto’o, Lionel Messi tried to persuade Guardiola not to sell him.

Immediately after the 2007/2008 season, the then Barcelona president Joan Laporta had marked the Cameroonian along with Ronaldinho and Deco as the players who were to leave the club as they were the main reason for the raging disquiet in the dressing room. Dinho and Deco left but Eto’o managed to stay on for another season until his relationship with Guardiola reached an all time low last summer forcing Pep to sell him.

In his own words, Guardiola believed that Eto’o’s influence in the teams dressing room was ‘disruptive’. In an interview with French daily L’Equipe Eto’o said that he not only had the support of Messi, but also of the entire squad.

“I’ve played and I have won with Ronaldinho, [Lionel] Messi, and with many great players. When Ronaldinho arrived at Barcelona, they did not win anything. After my arrival, we won it all.

“When [Pep] Guardiola wanted me out, Messi went to him and said: ‘Let whoever you want go, but not Samuel’. All my coaches will tell you that I am a great professional. I’ve been role model in terms of discipline, and I have always been rigorous and professional.”

We may never know if Eto’o is right or wrong however, his earlier statement comparing his contributions with those of Ronaldinho might suggest that there was indeed a problem in the team camp. Of Course as much as they may try to conceal it, Eto’o and Ronaldinho are not the best of friends in fact they have been involved in a number of public disagreements while still playing for Barcelona.

In light of these remarks, i do think that it was necessary for the club to offload both players as clearly they were no longer uniting factors in the team.

Photo credit: from ScRO