Controversial stuff. Or is it? Well that depends on which Spanish football paper you read. According to Marca, Samuel Eto’o tells Thierry Henry to ‘get on with his job and play where he’s told’. According to El Mundo Deportivo, the FC Barcelona striker thinks ‘we should all respect Henry’s private life’. La Liga Review brings you two different versions of the same story…
You can always tell when Samuel Eto’o enters the press room at the Camp Nou because there is a sudden flurry of excitement as the assembled hacks scramble for their pens and voice recorders and sit with baited breathe waiting to see what the Barcelona striker has to say: he’s good copy as they put it in the trade.
That’s why, wherever Eto’o goes, they always follow: a bit like the pied piper but with hacks instead of rats. Yesterday the player visited a Childrens hospital and sure enough, there they were eager to see what he had to say.
As always, Samu duly obliged.And as always, there’s a bit of controversy – or is there?
Well that all depends on what Spanish football paper you read and on what side of the great divide your loyalties lay.
The way Marca, in Madrid, and El Mundo Deportivo in Barcelona nboth interpretd the few words Samuel Eto’o had to say yesterday can be interpreted in two completely different ways and, where it suits, used to create controversy and division. La Liga Review brings you both versions and lets you decide for yourselves.
This is how it was reported in Marca: ‘Thierry Henry has complained both in public and in private about having to play on the left wing, where his performance has notably deteriorated. His team mate, Samuel Eto’o who plays in the position where Henry would like to play, sent a clear warning to Henry yesterday: “A footballer should just get on with his job and play where the manager tells him. I don’t even think about whether or not I’m happy with the tactics or not. If the coach told me to play in goal and gave the number one shirt to Victor Valdes, that’s fine by me.”
The Cameroon international, who last February publicly called Frank Rijkaard a bad person, came out in defence of his coach yesterday to speak out against the numerous rumours that ser doing the rounds about the Dutchman’s future and his replacement next season.
It’s a lack of respect. Today it’s Michael Laudrup, every day is Jose Mourinho, but always the same lack of respect for Frank who is doing a great job and we can still win everything this season. We shouldn’t forget that this team has won a lot.”
However, El Mundo Deportivo interpreted Eto’o’s words somewhat differently.
According to MD : ‘Samuel Eto’o Speaking as he visited a children’s hospital yesterday, said “ The most important thing in the world is a child’s smile.”
‘And speaking of children, Eto’o did not wish to comment upon Thierry Henry’s personal problems after the Frenchman admitted that being separated from his daughter was affecting his performances on the pitch.
Eto’o said “What I have to say to Henry I’ll say to him in private. He took it upon himself to say what has gone on and you have to respect that”
Eto’o also called for the press to show more respect to Frank Rijkaard and said that he has the utmost respect for his coach. Eto’o said “If he asked me to wear the gloves for a game, I’d just get on with it.”
Just about the only thing that the two newspaper reports were able to agree upon was the fact that Barcelona’s match against Almeria on Saturday will represent Eto’o’s 100th game for the Catalan club.
His record is impressive: in 99 games for the Blaugrana, Samauel Eto’o has scored an incredible 71 goals for the side. His goal average is the third best in the history of the club, beaten by Mariano Martin (1939-46) and Ladislao Kubala (1951-56) – making Eto’o the most effective striker for FC Barcelona in the modern era.
Needless to say, that given his record, what Samuel Eto’o has to say is probably worth listening to. It’s just a pity that we can never really be sure about what he actually said, nor trust what we eventually get to read.