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Eto'o: Guardiola disrespected me

ESPN staff
March 25, 2014 « Hard graft behind Federer's resurgence | Test Wayin World Cup »
Eto'o slams Guardiola

Samuel Eto'o has accused Pep Guardiola of being a coward and disrespecting him in his final season at Barcelona.

The striker is now playing at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, the former Real Madrid manager whom Guardiola endured a bitter rivalry with during their time in La Liga.

Eto'o has claimed he and Guardiola were barely on speaking terms during the entire 2008-09 campaign, when he scored 36 goals in Barcelona's treble-winning season including the opener in their Champions League final victory over Manchester United.

Eto'o targets "dream" PSG trip

Samuel Eto'o came off after nine minutes against Arsenal © Getty Images
  • Samuel Eto'o is hoping to be fit for Chelsea's "dream" Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain next Wednesday.
  • The striker opened the scoring in the 6-0 win at home to Arsenal on Saturday but then came off after just nine minutes with a hamstring injury.
  • Eto'o said: "I always dreamed of playing at the Parc des Princes. Unfortunately, my injury may not allow me to be there. Can I get fit enough? Time will tell. I can't say anything but I will work to be there."
  • Eto'o also claims he came close to joining PSG. He said: "I could have played for PSG back when Luis Fernandez was the coach [over 2000-2003]. He bought me dinner but the clubs couldn't find an agreement. It was a real shame."

Guardiola embarked on a clearout of Barcelona's first-team squad upon succeeding Frank Rijkaard in 2008, selling Ronaldinho and Deco with Eto'o also coming close to leaving the club.

"I first of all reminded Guardiola that he'd never been a great player," Eto'o told BeIN Sports. "He was a good player, that's true. I told him. As a coach, he had proven nothing. He came in and didn't even know the story of the dressing room.

"Guardiola has never had the courage to say things in front of me. He passed by the players. Xavi told me they wanted me to stay but I had to talk to Pep. I say 'never, if you do not respect me, I do not respect you'.

"Pep told me how to move like a striker. I told him: 'You're not normal!' The true story is that Pep didn't respect the things in football.

"What hurt me is that they invent things that the press relayed. They wanted to send me to Uzbekistan. I stayed at my place and I told him that he will apologise for that in the future."

The following season, Eto'o joined Mourinho at Inter Milan where he won another treble, lifting the Champions League again after helping to dispatch Guardiola's Barcelona in the semi-finals.

"He [Guardiola] shook hands with me when I was at Inter and I played against Barca, but this was just for the cameras and TV," Eto'o added. "Behind the scenes before the match, he did not greet me."

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