Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o struggled to impress Pep Guardiola at the Camp Nou and the Cameroonian has stated that he told the Catalan coach that it was his team, not Lionel Messi’s.
Guardiola often preferred to play Messi at the expensive of the forward, though Eto’o was clear that he was the key man in attack.
“I said to Guardiola [that] you’ll have to apologise to me because it’s me that will make Barcelona win, not Messi,” Eto’o told BeIN Sports.
“It was the situation back then. Messi would come later, but you can ask Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres] Iniesta and the others – that was my era.
“Pep had lived his whole life at Barcelona, but in the years I spent in Barcelona, he didn’t understand the squad. He didn’t like the life of our group.”
Eto’o, 38, now plays for Qatar Sports Club and he states that Guardiola did in fact ask for forgiveness from his striker.
“It was me that made Barcelona win,” he noted.
“And Pep would ask me for forgiveness.”
The issues between Eto’o and Guardiola never truly vanished and, despite scoring 30 goals in LaLiga Santander and the opener in the 2-0 Champions League final victory over Manchester United in 2009, the Catalan decided to sell the Cameroonian.
“My lawyer at the time told me that the club had put me up for sale on the transfer market,” said Eto’o.
“I said, ‘really?’ He said, ‘yes, at Guardiola’s request.'”
That summer, Eto’o moved to Inter as he went on to secure the treble under Jose Mourinho in his first season in Milan.
“It’s clear today, that move, and the opportunity that Pep gave me, has gone down in history because it permitted me to be an even bigger part of football history by going to Inter,” added Eto’o.
“He allowed Inter to strike the best deal in football history.”